Bienville Square Fountain Stolen?

3 MIN READ
Mobile Rundown Staff

The fountain is getting restored and was removed in 2021.

It was only supposed to take a few months.

Here we are in 2023.

Still no fountain.

A local source* took this completely unverified picture.

bienville square fountain stolen mobile alabama

It looks like one of those spy weather balloons may have taken it!

More on that in a moment…

But first, let me tell you about this famous Bienville Square Fountain.

But to get there, we need to start with the fascinating history of Bienville Square.

How Bienville Square Became a Square

In the early 1800s, the U.S. government gave the city of Mobile a piece of land.

It had one caveat.

We were required to use it as a city park.

So we did!

There was an old Spanish hospital on one corner.

Over time, Mobile purchased other block pieces.

By the mid-1850s, we had locked up the entire city block.

Finally, Bienville would no longer be a rectangle.

Time to become a square!

People like Theodore Roosevelt (early 1900s) have even spoken in the square.

And still today, it’s the epicenter for significant community events.

Now we need to talk about the fountain.

And who in the world is Ketchum?

The Bienville Square Fountain (Ketchum Fountain)

Mobile installed the fountain in the late 1800s to honor a local physician named George Ketchum.

George was a proponent of clean drinking water and also helped with having water available for potential fires (thanks, George!)

There were large oak trees in the center of the park.

Even in the 1800s, citizens were angry about the cutting of the oaks.

Some things never change.

And now, more than 100 years later, the fountain is being restored.

The Bienville Fountain Restoration Project

After 100 years, you get a little tired.

Even if you have a strong fountain name, like Ketchum.

The plan was to send this puppy to north Alabama to get shined up.

We had it removed in 2021.

The Downtown Parks Conservancy, whose mission is to protect the parks of Mobile, spearheaded the fountain restoration (go team!)

While it’s gone, the base and the plumbing are getting all fixed up.

There’s also apparently going to be a sitting wall around the fountain so that folks can get closer to it.

Places to rest and relax are always good.

And this of course, means we can go diving for pennies and such.

We were under the impression that this project would take months (not years).

Here are a few articles that we dug up from our local media about the project — here, here, and here.

But about 18 months later, there’s still no fountain.

Sad face.

But, they confirmed that they removed some of those squirrels ravaging peanuts from our tourist friends.

I mean, these guys were savages!

It became illegal to feed the squirrels (sad day).

We’re sure the massive damage to Bienville Square in 2020 after Hurricane Sally didn’t help.

Many of the park’s trees were lost and had to be cut.

No trees = no homes.

Sorry squirrels.

feeding squirrels in bienville square mobile alabama

We Want The Bienville Fountain Back

Ok, when the fountain returns, we can’t wait to add a nice big photo of it, right…

HERE.

But until then, we’ll keep looking up in the sky??

Maybe we can shoot down that balloon and get our fountain back!

*Source for the fountain heist info:  Chip (one of the squirrels our team met in Bienville Square).  He was hard to understand, and we can’t be 100% certain we understood him correctly about the balloon part.  

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