One of the most recognizable sites in Yarmouth is the Milton Horse Fountain. Located on Main Street at the corner of Vancouver Street, it is often used as a directional point. The fountain was a gift from prominent Yarmouth resident, Clara Killam, who wanted to express her love for her hometown. It was created by New York designer, Mr. J.L. Mott, and was placed on site on May 20, 1893.
Clara Killam was the daughter of Samuel Killam, one of Yarmouth’s wealthiest shipping businessman. Upon his death in 1887, Clara was bequeathed most of her father’s money. She generously gave her inheritance to a number of local organizations, such as the hospital, and the Milton Horse Fountain to her hometown.
The Milton Horse Fountain has two distinct elements: the base and the horse statue atop. The base is an iron fountain that, until the 1920s, provided drinking water for people and animals alike. Its lower water troughs were accessible to smaller animals, such as dogs and sheep, and two higher troughs were made for larger animals such as horses and cattle. People could drink from this fountain as well, as faucets and cups were placed in the mouth of the moulded dog heads. Atop the fountain, there is a statue known as the golden horse. Clara chose the horse for the statue because of her admiration for the animal.
Sadly, this important landmark has been damaged several times over the years, but luckily each time it could be repaired. The damaging incidents included an explosion from a homemade bomb in 1922; a snowplough struck it during a snowstorm in 1961; and pranksters painted the horse different colors. The Milton Improvement Society makes sure the fountain is always repaired and that it stands proudly.
The fountain has also been altered over the years mainly due to functionality. In order to widen the road, the base was moved westward. Later, the faucets were removed and replaced with a push button so that the flow of water could be controlled, and the cups were eventually removed. Even still, people were able to enjoy drinking water from it well into the 1920s, after which point it ceased being a working fountain.
A plaque in honor of Clara Killam’s generous gift can be found on the fountain. It reads, “Presented to Milton Yarmouth by Clara Killam, May 1, 1893.” This is an important landmark to the community, in which residents take great pride. Hopefully it will stand tall for many years to come.