While this was a tremendous shock to their family, life went on for
Walter, Emma and daughter Elsie. Elise graduated from Boulder
College and shortly after she and her mother took a long trip to
Europe in 1909/1910. In Paris, Emma became interested in the
National Humane Alliance effort to place drinking fountains for
horses in the United States and France. She contacted Lewis Sevier,
the secretary of the Humane Alliance in New York, about placing a
granite fountain in Grand Junction.
Hermon Lee Ensign founded the National Humane Alliance in 1897, and
when he died in 1899 he left the fortune he had made from
advertising and as an inventor to the Alliance. The purpose of the
Alliance was to educate and instill in people, especially the young,
ideas of humanity both to animals and each other. He believed that
“if a man or boy is educated on this line, so that he feels a
pleasure in being considerate of animals as well as of his fellow
beings, he cannot be other that a good citizen.”
Based on this premise the one stipulation for the gift was the
Humane Alliance chose the site to place the fountain, and in 1910
Lewis Sevier came to Grand Junction and walked the city with Mayor
Todd to determine the best location. The center of the intersection
of Fifth and Rood next to the new YMCA was chosen as the YMCA stood
for the betterment of young men and women.
The fountain weighed five tons and stood seven feet tall with a
massive six-foot bowl hewn from one piece of granite. It stood on a
square pier and small basins around the base captured water provided
for dogs. It was also wired for a globe street light placed upon the
top. Three sides had brass lion heads that spouted water, and on the
north side of the fountain was a plaque dedicated to the founder of
the fountains, Hermon Lee Ensign. The only cost to the city would be
the shipping cost from the granite quarries where the fountains were
made on a small island off the coast of Maine named Vinalhaven.
The Humane Alliance shipped the fountain in November of 1910. On
Jan. 14, 1911, the Daily Sentinel reported the fountain was on it
way from Maine, and it arrived on Jan. 25. It came in two sections
and was so heavy that when City Commissioner Scovill was hauling it
up from the freight yards, it proved too much for his wagon,
breaking the coupling pole and dropping the huge fountain in the mud
of Sixth and Main. As soon as the weather settled down, the concrete
foundation was laid and the fountain was unpacked and installed with
the metal plaque on the north side of the fountain stating, “1908
Presented by the National Humane Alliance. Hermon Lee Ensign,
On March 28 the program for the formal dedication ceremony was
placed in both the Grand Junction News and the Daily Sentinel,
stating Mrs. Elizabeth Walker Hinton on behalf of Emma Keene
Sullivan would give the history of the fountain with Mayor Todd
accepting the fountain for the city.
Emma was not able to attend as she and her husband, Judge Sullivan,
went on an extended trip after the marriage of their daughter, Elsie
on Dec. 1, 1910.
On March 29, the intersection of Fifth and Rood was filled with men,
women and children to witness the dedication. There was a prayer by
Rev. S. B. Warner, the Colorado Glee Club sang “By the light of the
Silvery Moon” and “America.” I.N. Bunting of the Daily Sentinel
referred “feelingly” that the presence of this beautiful fountain is
due to the insistence, courage, and untiring energy of Mrs. Emma
Keene Sullivan, further stating that she overcame obstacles to have
the fountain brought to Grand Junction.
Mrs. Elizabeth Hinton spoke on behalf of Emma and presented the
animal fountain to the city. She stated the fountain was conceived
in love. It was love that prompted Hermon Lee Ensign to leave his
estate to the fund which builds and donates these monuments for his
love for dogs and horses, and it was love which upheld Mrs. Sullivan
in her endeavor to secure the fountain for this city.
Mayor Thomas Todd formally accepted the gift in the spirit of
gratitude and trust, stating that is was a rare occasion for the
city to get something for nothing, and it was his hope the fountain
would stand as a thing of beauty and joy forever. The mayor then
called upon City Water Commissioner Bostwick W. Vedder to turn on
the water to the fountain and the program was completed.
So now the horses and dogs of Grand Junction had their own public
fountain, and there was even a cup for humans who wished to get
water from the flowing lion’s heads. The water fountain stayed at
the intersection of Fifth and Rood for many years. After a time, as
automobiles became the main mode of transportation, the fountain was
We know by records that Judge Walter S. Sullivan died in 1915, his
wife Emma followed her daughter — Elsie McKinnie — to California,
where Elsie died in 1935 and Emma died in 1937. Emma’s remains were
bought back to Grand Junction and buried next to her husband and
baby boy, Philip, in the Orchard Mesa Cemetery.
Now, for the rest of the story.
There were about 125 fountains placed in the United States from the
years 1906 to 1921 when the National Humane Alliance closed its
doors. There is a list online at http://www.electronicvalley.org/derby/greenway/fountains/NHAFountains.htm.
In researching this story I discovered that Grand Junction was not
mentioned as a city receiving a fountain. Upon contacting the
website and sending photos from the Museum of Western Colorado,
Grand Junction is now listed along with the other Colorado cities of
Denver and Colorado Springs. The Denver fountain is still located in
a small paved triangle in the Civic Center District, where Colfax,
Tremont, and 13th intersect.
The Grand Junction fountain is documented by photos from the Museum
of Western Colorado from 1911 to about 1923. By the time the tennis
courts on the southwest corner of Fifth and Rood (current location
of Snap Photo) are replaced with a gas station, the fountain has
been removed. Only a manhole cover marks the spot.
As of the writing of this story I have not been able to find where
the fountain went. It’s hard to lose something that big, so if
anyone out there has scrapbooks or old stories from your
grandparents who might have mentioned the day a five-ton, $125,000
water fountain got up and moved away from Grand Junction, please
contact me at my e-mail listed below.
It would be nice when we find it, if it were again placed somewhere
for the enjoyment of children, adults and animals. And then if we
spy a white cloud in the shape of a smile in the blue Colorado sky
we might assume it’s Emma Keene Sullivan’s spirit shining down and
saying well done.
Photos: Museum of Western Colorado, Loyd Files Room, Michael Menard:
David Bailey Peter Booth; Bill Chilles, Vinalhaven Historical
Society; Jack WalshDerby, CT: Grand Junction News: The Daily
Sentinel files: Mesa County Library Obit Files: Snap Photo: City of
Grand Junction Cemetery Information, Vicki Beltran: Lavada Palmer of
the Mesa County Assessor’s Office: Richard Tope History of Mesa
County: Mesa County Library Staff: Pat Gromley: Special Thanks to
Marie Tipping who helped me look through four days of newspaper
books from 1908-1912. This was a HUGE Job.
Garry Brewer is storyteller of the tribe; finder of odd knowledge
and uninteresting items; a bore to his grandchildren; a pain to his
wife on spelling; but a locator of golden nuggets, truths and pearls
of wisdom. Email Garry at email@example.com.
And now read this story about what
eventually happened to the fountain and why it might no longer be
considered a National Humane Alliance Fountain.
THE STORY OF COACH
This story and
picture from May 3, 2017 was published on
This little-known memorial for Grand Junction's Coach Schwalm has
a unique story you just have to know.
In all my visits to
Stocker Stadium, I swear I had never noticed this structure before.
It is located past the south end of the football field, on the far
side of the running track toward the barn.
I couldn't seem to find
a date of presentation or any indication of when this memorial was
placed there. All I know is basically what it says on the plaque:
of Elmer A. Schwalm
Grand Junction Junior College Athletic Coach and Instructor who
died Mar 13, 1934”
After I did a little
searching I found
the story of what tragically happened to Elmer and
how that memorial came to be.
The memorial was
originally a piece of a five ton, seven-foot tall fountain with a
brass lion's head and a stoplight on top of it. From 1911 to 1923 it
was located at 5th Street and Rood Avenue. It was eventually moved
because of road paving, finding a new home at Washington Park.
That is until 1934.
After Elmer died in a horrific car accident, Tom Gardner got a hold
of the old fountain, removed the stoplight and lion's head and
turned it into a public drinking fountain in Coach Schwalm's name.
The school decided to
unveil the memorial fountain during a football game on November 13,
So, believe it or not,
that structure has been there for more than 82 years. Dedicated to a
coach who "never
wanted to leave the field of play."