New version of old fountain envisioned on Bowdoin St.

Earl Taylor, president of the Dorchester Historical Society, will be visiting civic associations this week to explain a plan to replace a long-lost fountain at Coppens Square in the Meeting House Hill area.

"It's right across from Hendry Street that is getting a lot of attention from the mayor right now," said Taylor. "Hopefully that can help us."

The original fountain was created in 1885 in honor of Boston Mayor Theodore Lyman in the little park bounded by Adams, Bowdoin, and Church streets, and rumors abound as to what happened to it. According to a master plan commissioned by the city, one rumor has it that the spout was sacrificed for its metal in World War II. Another states that the city put it in storage. In the 1950s, the present model was installed, dwarfed by its surrounding pool and unable to throw water.

A new fountain, a near replica of the 1885 model, would cost $195,000, estimates the master plan. The entire park renovation, which includes benches, pavement, plantings and a little archway with "Coppens Square" emblazoned on it, will total over $386,000. The plan was developed in consensus with neighborhood groups, said Taylor, and completed two years ago.

The historical society has received a $75,000 grant to put toward the project from the city's Edward Ingersoll Browne Fund, and Taylor plans to write a few more, with support from local civic organizations.

Also on Taylor's mind of late is a new roof for the Barn, a building on the historical society's grounds on Boston Street.

"It needs a lot of work actually, but the roof is first because the weather is getting in there now," he said.

More information about the society, including how to donate, can be found at