Proof that progress is not all that It is cracked up to be

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Proof that progress is not all that It is cracked up to be
Posted by Miningman on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 8:54 PM

Anyone remember water fountains like this in your city/town? I sure do, it was a sure sign of spring when the city crews installed these and they popped up all over the place in Hamilton. The water was always super cold and very refreshing. I remember reading of arguments every year in City Hall, Hamilton, well into the 90's as to whether this should be continued... I can only assume they quit providing these altogether sometime during this time. The vandalism and legal implications alone would not permit this practice today.

Got to love that little bus in Forest Hill and the sign!

You have to ask yourself if things were a little more civilized back then than they are today. 

Did US cities follow this practice of public drinking fountains?

Looking in the opposite direction from the south side of Dundas Street West in front of the old West Toronto City Hall. 

The TTC Runnymede bus came from Bloor Street where it wyed in the intersection, via Runnymede Road and Annette Street and had recently been rerouted to loop on streets via Mavety Street, Dundas, Keele and Annette. Schedule sign on far pole. The Lambton bus looped via Anneette, Mavety and went west on Dundas St.W. to Lambton Avenue (Prince Edward Drive) having been extended there recently from the Lambton House hotel at the Humber River. This was a separate fare service operated for the Township of York and in later years used Gray Coach Lines buses. It replaced the Lambton car abandoned August 18,1928. Note the drinking water fountain, common on city streets for many years. Now, you could die of thirst looking for one! 

Early buses looked like this pneumatic-tire White Motor Company model 50A, first of three just acquired, TTC 16. 
November 20, 1924. City of Toronto Archives TTC Collection 3554

Beginning of fleet buses. 

571 Twin Coach part of a 30 bus order which was followed in 1940 with 50 more. The "fleet" had begun. 
Obviously posed with just two "passengers" on this short route in "up-scale" Village of Forest Hill
before upscale was a common phrase and "village" was added to every neighborhood! 
Note the unique signpost at Dunvegan Road and Frybrook Avenue. 

In 1967 the Village of Forest Hill was annexed by the City of Toronto.

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Posted by seppburgh2 on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 10:55 PM

Growing up in Morristown, NJ(60's) there was a similar water fountain infront of the WWII memorial at the spit of South Street and Woodland ave.  Remember walking to town (mom didn't drive) this was MY watering hole.  The water was turned off in the fall.  It lasted into the late 70's.  Thanks to vandals and cost reduction, the fountain is now gone.  

The town also had a horse watering trough in the center of town across from an ancient fire house.  It was part of a memorial of some kind, when I could recall back in the 60's it sat empty.  The last trip through town a few years ago the trough was turned into a planter.  

Thanks for memories!

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Posted by SD70Dude on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 11:13 PM

I haven't used a water fountain in years, but as late as 15 years ago most Edmonton city parks had at least one.  I suspect they are disappearing, if they are not all gone already.

Unfortunately they provide a convenient respository for vandals to deposit used gum and other such appealing, sanitary things.  One more thing ruined for many by a few.

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by M636C on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 11:43 PM

Such water fountains were common in Australia, where the need might have been greater than in many areas of Canada owing to the higher prevailing temperatures.

It was common to have these on Suburban railway stations in Sydney, NSW, anyway. Many of them are still there having survived the change from manned stations selling card tickets with manual train indicators to stored value tickets and LCD indicators, and I stll use them.

In some cities, the designs have changed to strange cuved beams where the excess water runs down the outside of the beam (intentionally), and to strange stainless steel cylinders which are sadly often mistaken for public ashtrays, and even when usable provide a puzzle for prospective users to find the actuating button to get the water.


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Posted by Miningman on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 12:29 AM

Hmmm... the ones found in Hamilton, must have been a hundred in total, each main city street have several ...there was at least two on Ottawa St.where my Grandmas fish and chip place was, and in Toronto all over the place, but the water ran non stop continuously day and night. There was no actuation button. They only put them up in the spring and took them away for storage in the late fall before freezeup. The water never overflowed, it was calibrated so that it had a nice burble/bubble gentle geyser and simply drained back into its opening around the sending pipe. They were built like Patton Tanks. 

They were at minimum 45 years old last time I saw and used one in Hamilton, don't know how long they were around before I made my grand entrance to this planet. 

They disappeared in Toronto much earlier than they did in Hamilton. The city was very proud of them and felt it was part of it's charm and heritage and they hung on for a long time. 

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Posted by Deggesty on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 7:45 AM

Salt Lake City did have ever-flowing fountains on the streets downtown--until the drought of 1977. I do not know if the water was turned off in the winter or not--I wasn't downtown much in the winter.


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Posted by Miningman on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 11:26 AM

So we had them at least in Morristown, NJ, Salt Lake City, Utah, Toronto and Hamilton and still have them in Sydney, NSW, Australia!

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Posted by Firelock76 on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 5:51 PM

I don't remember any in the various "centers of town" in the towns in Northern New Jersey where Lady Firestorm and I grew up.

One of the local shopping malls DID have a watering trough for dogs, though!

The only thing close to a public fountain I remember in New Jersey was in the town of Pitman, Gloucester County.  It had been installed by the Womens Christian Temperence Union around the time of World War One.  A very impressive concrete structure, it looked like a monument!

However, by the 1970's it had been turned off, no more water flow.

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, March 15, 2018 9:58 AM

We did not need vandel-proof seats in subway cars in the old days.  Sure, during rush hours most people had to stand.  Like today.  But when seats were available, they were comfortable.

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Posted by YoHo1975 on Friday, March 30, 2018 11:28 AM
I've never lived someplace that didn't have public water fountains. Chicago and Suburbs, Portland Or and Suburbs, San Diego and Suburbs, Sacramento and Suburbs. Now, most of them were not free flowing although I remember old ones in Chi were and Portland for sure were. Here in California, we don't have enough Water to do that.
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Posted by Miningman on Friday, March 30, 2018 12:50 PM

Well thank you for that Yoho1975. It would seem then that public water fountains were widespread in the USA. 

We don't even have wall mounted or free standing fountains with the activation lever at our school any there are those large water bottles sitting atop a cooling unit. No Dixie cups either or those cone cups...students fill their (huge) water bottles. About a dozen of those large water station jugs are lined up along the floor each Monday by the delivery guy and the students are responsible for changing them out. Works well, I assume it is more sanitary, but it has to be a cost. Teachers use them too, fillup their coffee machines tanks, Tassimos and the like. Sometimes we run out by Friday. Oh the horrors of the tap!

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Posted by Enzoamps on Saturday, March 31, 2018 12:29 AM

I still remember a few places indoors, in the hallways of buildings, there were pairs of fountains.  There would be one that was a simple spigot like the photos posted, and next to it one of those refrigerated water fountains.  Right next to each other.  Over the fancy chilled one was a sign that read "Whites Only".  It is not a nice memory.  Goes along with the white line on the floor of the bus, I recall that too.  It has been over 60 years since then, but I remember.

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, March 31, 2018 8:11 PM

Enzoamps-- Simplier but certainly flawed times. In this instance progress IS all it's cracked up to be.


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