The residents of the small town of Fountain, Minn., are preparing for a big party as the sesquicentennial celebration will take place July 26-28, 2019.
“Fountain’s early history is very limited due to a fire that swept through the town in 1872,” states Fountain resident and history buff Paul Little. He says there is a lack of credible sources for history, explaining, “Fountain had two papers in the late 1800s, The Fountain Radical and The Fountain Review but only one issue of each has survived. These can be found at the Fillmore County History Center,” states Little.
“From extensive research done for the 12th Fountain Anniversary it is easy to conclude that Fountain came into existence due to greed. As the railroad moved forward from La Crosse to Lanesboro, speculators bought up all the viable land from Lanesboro to Preston since they could see no other possible route that the railroad could go due to the steep grades out of the Lanesboro valley,” explains Little.
“The railroad balked at paying the high land prices being asked by the speculators and decided to build through the ravine that ran west to the prairie where Fountain now stands. It took three years to complete and at one time was the steepest railroad grade west of the Rockies,” he states.
The town then started to come to fruition. “In 1869, Fountain’s first building was built by John Dahl. It was a saloon that served the railroad workers. This was followed by a general store and hotel. The building still stands near the downtown today,” notes Little.
“By 1875 Fountain and Fountain Township had over 1,000 residents and Fountain proper had three general stores, hardware, blacksmith, lumber yard, drug store, doctor’s office (in the current post office), wagon shop, harness shop, three saloons, two hotels, grain buyer, paving and building stone, wheat buyers, elevator, livestock yard and billiard hall,” says Little.
This shows how much history there is in the small town of Fountain and how many reasons there are to celebrate, as the town has survived hard times and is enjoying a bit of a growing spurt.
The celebratory events begin on Friday, July 26 with Movie Night at the Ballpark from 9-11 p.m. This will be a great chance for area residents to settle in with family and friends and have some quiet moments before the other activities for the weekend get underway.
Saturday morning fun begins early with the weigh-in for the tractor pull at 8:30 a.m. and the Tractor Pull taking place from 9:30 a.m. to noon.
The Sinkhole Saloon, a traveling drink dispensary, will be open all day, offering ice cold beverages which will certainly be popular, as the summer temperatures are upon us.
There will be a market at the Fountain Community Center from 9-4 with exciting events taking place. The Pfarkel Sisters will be hosting a demonstration at 1 p.m. called “How to make old look new again and how to repurpose items for new uses,” which is sure to teach us how to make a new use of those items that have been sitting around for years.
Also at the community center will be an Antique Appraiser Workshop. Those wishing to participate must pre-register by calling Colleen Mulvihill at (507) 251-6047. Only one item will be allowed per person.
The Fillmore County History Center & Genealogy Library will have an exhibit of early Fountain photographs displayed as well as items pertaining to the history of Fountain. Plan to spend an extended period of time walking through the History Center, as there are many interesting items displayed throughout the expansive building. The History Center will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.
A Show & Shine Car Show will be held on the grounds of the History Center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with classic cars and their owners on hand for attendees to admire.
Food is always a big attraction for people and there will be plenty of food vendor options to please everyone’s palate from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., including Fillmore County Pork Producers, Fillmore County Cattlemen’s Association, Fillmore County American Dairy Association, The Pony Espresso, Catering by Karen, and of course, there are wonderful eating establishments in town as well so be sure to support them also.
Beginning at 6 p.m. Abby’s Concessions will be in town to take orders from hungry customers and will stay open until midnight.
Kids will find many reasons to smile starting with jumping around in the bouncy house which will be available all day, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Children can register for the Pedal Pull starting at 9 a.m. with the event starting at 10 a.m.
The Firemen’s Waterfight at 11 a.m. is sure to draw a big crowd of kids and adults as it is not only fun to watch and root for your friend or family member to win, but it also a good demonstration of the skill that is necessary to handle the fire hoses. Trophies will be handed out to the first, second and third place winners of the waterfight.
Two activities start at noon, including Coin Digging for kids and also a Bean Bag Tournament, giving people of all ages something fun to do with others in Fountain for a good time.
A favorite of many, the parade, will begin at 4 p.m., with Grand Marshals Richard and Judy Kujath. Richard served on the Fountain Fire Department for many years, has owned a business in Fountain for over 40 years, and served on the Fountain City Council for 44 years – 34 of those years as mayor. Both Richard and Judy have been big supporters of the City of Fountain over the years.
“I was really surprised,” states Richard, but he and Judy are very honored to be grand marshals for the sesquicentennial parade.
One of the highlights of the parade will be the 1880s Fountain Fire Department hand-drawn hose cart which will be pulled in the parade by local firemen. The firemen will be ringing an antique bell on the hose cart which was manufactured by the CS Bell Co. of Hillsboro, Ohio.
Then get ready to dance the night away with the Fabulous Armadillos from 8-11 p.m. The Fabulous Armadillos are a well-known rock band that play the old time rock you know and love. During break time at the dance a special board showing some of Fountain’s history will be put up for auction which you will not want to miss.
Begin Sunday off on a bright note with a church service in the park and then have the rest of the day to relax and look back on the precious memories that were made during the Fountain Sesquicentennial Celebration.
The City of Fountain has much to be proud of and also to look forward to, with new businesses opening in town recently and other businesses expanding.
Spend time in Fountain during the sesquicentennial celebration and have some fun while learning about the past, present and future of the town.
For more information visit facebook.com/Fountain-150th-Celebration or www.fountainmn.org.