I need to raise money to help pay for the Restoration of the 1901 Nathan Hale Memorial Fountain to be located in the center of the Herb Garden at Fodor Farm, Flax Hill Road, Norwalk, CT.
The Nathan Hale Memorial Fountain was erected in 1901 by the Norwalk chapter of the Daughters of American Revolution (DAR) to honor America’s First Patriot Spy and Connecticut State Hero, Nathan Hale. The fountain was designed by Stanford White (McKim, Mead & White) as a drinking fountain for horses, people, and dogs and was originally located in front of the former Norwalk Armory on West Avenue, Norwalk, CT. The fountain was along the trail Nathan Hale took on his spy mission during the American Revolution. There was a bronze tablet on the back which was given by the children of Norwalk which included the famous quote he said before he was to be hanged by the British in New York, “I only regret that I have one life to lose for my country”. In the late 1920s, the monument was disassembled due to the widening of Armory Hill. The stele portion (only) was moved to Mill Hill, then later relocated to Nathan Hale Middle School. The horse trough was left behind, then later transferred to Ambler Farm. It remained there for some 80 years until Lisa Wilson Grant with the help of Minuteman Land Services landscaping company together with Norwalk Recreation and Parks Dept winch truck facilitated its return to Norwalk in October 2013. The stele was relocated to Fodor Farm, 328 Flax Hill Road, Norwalk, in 2014 to join with the trough. Both pieces are tucked out of the way on that property 'for now'. The bronze tablet and fish are in the Norwalk Museum collection. The missing or broken bronze pieces- the lions head, ribbed bowl, incomplete lettering and broken fish tail will be refabricated. The flagstone walkways and stone sitting walls as per the landscape design plan were completed in the Fall 2015 by the City of Norwalk Recreation & Parks Department, have a pump and water feed installed and are ready to add the restored fountain as a centerpiece. This fountain and herb garden serve as a contemplative meeting space and entrance into the Fodor Farmhouse which will be used for community space and office spaces for 4 non-profit groups. The City of Norwalk has paid for and completed the masonry portion of this project.
Fodor Farm is the new location for the Nathan Hale Memorial Fountain. Located on Flax Hill Road (aka The Stamford Path, the Old Boston Post Road or King’s Highway) this is on the route Nathan Hale took on his fateful mission in September 1776. There appears to be a general lack of community awareness about this fact, and his story. In addition to this monument, there will be a porcelain sign nearby to provide explanation. Eventually, signage could be roadside, identifying “Nathan Hale’s Trail” -similar to what exists in Huntington, Long Island where the sister McKim, Mead & White monument (that was built around the same time) is located. The Fodor Farm location is ready for the fountain - with water and electrical conduit in place. There will be a resident caretaker who will have a window view of the fountain. Photographs of the front and back of the Nathan Hale Memorial Fountain are included in the “Images of America: Norwalk” book published by Arcadia in June 2014 by Lisa Wilson Grant. It’s inclusion in this book has started the process of creating awareness about the fountain, Nathan Hale, the fountain’s restoration and its new location at Fodor Farm.
Update from Lisa Wilson Grant June 2017: Great news! Great-grandson of Stanford White (original designer in 1901) is an architect and has agreed to help me with the engineering of this two-sided fountain. I sent him mechanical drawings I drew last week. He told me "that stele was a favorite of Stanford White’s. He used it for the grave of his first child, and White’s partners used it for his grave, both next to each other in Saint James."