In the 19th century, urban traffic in Charlottesville required something other than a gas station for fuel. Instead, the equine motors needed water.
To satisfy this daily requirement, the city installed four water fountains. The upper portion of the fountain was for two-legged animals, while other domesticates used the overflow from the “fishes” that was collected below in a basin. Unfortunately, none of the fountains survived in situ in the 20th century. But recently the Charlottesville Volunteer Fire Company and the City of Charlottesville restored one of them and erected it near Court Square (seen at the left in the photograph). The fountain dates to 1892, while the design was patented in 1880. The next time you are strolling down the mall, take a short side-trip to view the intricately carved motifs on this historic feature.