Dr. Henry Cogswell, a late 19th-century dentist, real-estate tycoon, and millionaire philanthropist, was a staunch supporter of the temperance movement. He believed that the regular availability of fresh, clean drinking water would steer people away from the presumed evils of alcohol. To that end, he had over a dozen large public drinking fountains erected in cities throughout the United States, including this one in Rockville, Connecticut, where his cousin lived.
The Rockville fountain, like many others commissioned by Cogswell, features multiple taps emerging from a tall, elaborate base decorated with animals and floral designs. On top stands a statue of the doctor himself holding a glass of water in one hand and a document with a Temperance pledge in the other.
After the fountain was installed in 1883, the statue was repeatedly stolen by locals disgruntled by Cogswell’s admonitions against alcohol. It was finally melted down for scrap during World War II. The current monument that rests on the site of the original is a replica based on photographs and written records.
Know Before You Go
The Cogswell Fountain is located on the Rockville Town Green between Route 74 and Park Place where the roads are connected by Park Street. Parking is available along Route 74 and in the nearby courthouse plaza.
The water fountains on the monument currently do not function.