Event will celebrate return of Memorial Fountain 1 1/2 years after crash damaged it

Amber South
Chambersburg Public Opinion

Memorial Fountain is back in Chambersburg.

The historic fountain was removed over a year ago to be repaired after an SUV went airborne and crashed into it. Lancaster-based ART Research Enterprises completed the nearly $100,000 project.

Workers re-installed the fountain in the basin at routes 11 and 30 on Tuesday.

An event is planned at 5 p.m. Friday to celebrate the fountain's return and to turn on the water.

An undated photo of Chambersburg's Memorial Fountain.

During "Fire Up the Fountain," Carol Barnes, a Hamilton Township woman who donated several of Chambersburg's Christmas trees, will flip the switch to make the fountain run again, according to the Franklin County Visitors Bureau.

Mike Marotte, a Franklin County historian who writes a monthly column for Public Opinion, will speak about the fountain's history.

103.7 FM is coordinating the event. Franklin County Visitors Bureau is sponsoring it.

Fountain removed:Historic Chambersburg fountain removed for repairs after crash caught on video

History of Memorial Fountain:Memorial Fountain has been a Chambersburg landmark for 143 years. Here's how it came to be

The fountain sustained severe damage after a drunk driver crashed into it in the early hours of Dec. 2, 2021.

A video shared by Chambersburg Police Department at the time showed the westbound vehicle at a high rate of speed striking the curb surrounding the fountain, going airborne and crashing into part of the fountain before landing in the basin.

"Specifically, the basin parapet is displaced; two sculpted 'boy with fountain' statues and their base elements were severely damaged; as well as the internal structure at the base; and there may also be unknown internal damage to the spire, leaving the entire fountain to potentially have structural issues that could result in a collapse," a borough official said at the time.

An SUV struck Chambersburg's Memorial Fountain, causing significant damage, early on Dec. 2, 2021.

A memorial to Franklin County citizens killed in the Civil War, the fountain was originally installed in 1878. A statue of a Union soldier stands next to it, looking toward the South for invading Confederates — a tribute to the Burning of Chambersburg by Confederate troops in 1864.

The fountain had last been refurbished in 2016. ART Research Enterprises also completed that job, along with other repairs.

Amber South can be reached at asouth@publicopinionnews.com.