Under protective custody of the City of Johnson City, the historic Lady of the Fountain statue is faring well at age 100 and in April 2011, a bronze replica of the original statue was placed at "Fountain Square."
It is believed that this statue became a part of the city about 1904, soon after “Mountain Home,” (present James H. Quillen VA Medical Center and College of Medicine campus) was built. One conjecture suggests that then Mayor James Summers and other city officials sought a way to honor Congressman Walter Preston Brownlow of Tennessee's First District, U.S. House of Representatives (1896-1910). The popular congressman was responsible for Johnson City being selected as the site for the “Mountain Branch of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Veterans,” from an Act of Congress dated January 28, 1901. Brownlow had sympathized with the plight of thousands of older Union Civil War veterans, maimed during the four-year conflict and shamefully reduced to mere homeless beggars. The city fathers reportedly chose to honor Brownlow with a statue to be placed in the heart of their town. After fabrication of the stature in a New York City foundry (Mott Iron Works) and delivery to the city, she reigned in the downtown district over the next approximately thirty-three years, observing the city’s colorful history unfold before her very eyes and ears. The fountain on which the statue stood was fabricated in Lenoir City, Tennessee. Read Bob Cox's article on the notification by Carol Grissom of the Smithsonian Institution of the Lady's true identity as the "Greek Water Carrier."
Below Johnson City artist Ted Laws provides a 1920s look at Fountain Square, as Ted remembered it as a youth in the city's railroad glory years.