Pell Horse Fountain - St. Augustine, FL
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Marine Biologist
N 29° 53.535 W 081° 18.793
17R E 469758 N 3306887
Quick Description: The public horse trough which dates from 1887 is located in historic downtown St. Augustine, Florida.
Location: Florida, United States
Date Posted: 1/22/2012 6:42:10 AM
Waymark Code: WMDJTK
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member BruceS
Views: 13

Long Description:
The horse trough is made of concrete and was donated to the city of St. Augustine by William Howland Pell in 1887. Some time after Pell's death in 1911, a bronze plaque with Pell's portrait was installed on the back side of the trough. The plaque reads:

In Loving Memory of
William Howland Pell
of New York
Who Erected This
Fountain in 1887.
He Was a Winter Resident
of This City for Many Years
and Died Here May 2, 1911.
He Loved Nature and was Kind to All Animals.

The following excerpt of a February 21, 2011, article in The St. Augustine Record provides the history of this horse trough:

"In St. Augustine what's now known as public art abounds, although sometimes it's in the unlikeliest places and easily overlooked.

A horse trough in front of Government House on East King Street is one example. The trough is on the street side, and the art is on the sidewalk side.

That art is a small bas relief showing a man's head in profile and bearing an inscription explaining how the trough came to be.

The trough was a gift from a man who was drawn to St. Augustine by the enterprise of Henry M. Flagler, the man who made the town "the" place to be for wealthy winter visitors.

The profile is that of William Howland Pell of New York. He erected the fountain in 1887 because of his love for animals. In those days, horses were the primary means of travel, and the trough no doubt got a lot of business.

And what was St. Augustine like in those days? A March 1892 New York Times article led off its "Society Topics for the Day" with the information that "the St. Augustine season is now at flood tide. The hotel registers show the heaviest arrivals of the year; the streets are thronged with sightseers and the shops with purchasers; and picnics, sailing parties, dances, luncheons and receptions follow each other in seemingly interminable succession."

The first person mentioned in the article was Mr. William Howland Pell who had given one of the largest of those recent sailing parties.

The trough plaque went up in later years, after Pell's death. A longtime winter resident, Pell died in St. Augustine on May 2, 1911. The plaque notes: "He loved nature and was kind to all animals."

If the Pell name sounds familiar, think Pell Grant. The federal program bears the name of the late Rhode Island Sen. Claiborne Pell, who introduced the bill creating the financial aid program for students.

The senator and the St. Augustine animal lover were one of the old Knickerbocker families in New York. The family originally made their fortune through the Lorillard Tobacco Co., which claimed to be the oldest tobacco firm in the U.S.

"I don't believe anyone has ever found out who the sculptor was, but you can tell it's a fine piece of work," said Charles Tingley with the St. Augustine Historical Society."

-- Source

TITLE: Pell Horse Fountain

ARTIST(S): Unknown

DATE: 1887

MEDIUM: Bronze and concrete.


Direct Link to the Individual Listing in the Smithsonian Art Inventory: [Web Link]

Located on King Street next to Government House in St. Augustine, Florida.

The Smithsonian Inventory does not clearly indicate under "Medium" that the fountain itself is made of concrete and the Pell memorial plaque, which was added many years later, is constructed of bronze.

Visit Instructions:
Please give the date of your visit, your impressions of the sculpture, and at least ONE ORIGINAL PHOTOGRAPH. Add any additional information you may have, particularly any personal observations about the condition of the sculpture.
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