Fountain Restoration Project

 

The Winthrop fountain is a popular symbol of Winthrop and a beloved campus landmark. The surrounding benches and shade trees attract students seeking a quiet respite in the heart of the campus. During the winter months, the fountain freezes into a beautiful ice sculpture. 

The historic campus fountain stopped working in 2018, nearly a century after its installation. It cannot be restored but rather must be replaced to fully function again. Fundraising efforts currently underway will replace the existing fountain and restore this iconic symbol of Winthrop. Estimated cost for the Fountain Restoration Project is $500,000. The project will be funded by the generosity of Winthrop alumni, community members and friends. 

Rendering of the new fountain and walkway design

Rendering of the new fountain and walkway design

Rendering of the new fountain and walkway design

Rendering of the new fountain and walkway design

Rendering of the new fountain and walkway design

Rendering of the new fountain and walkway design

Rendering of the new fountain and walkway design

Rendering of the new fountain and walkway design

Rendering of the new fountain and walkway design

Rendering of the new fountain and walkway design

Rendering of the new fountain and walkway design

Rendering of the new fountain and walkway design

Rendering of the new fountain and walkway design

Rendering of the new fountain and walkway design


History of the Fountain

Winthrop's fountain has been a part of each student's life since the first one was
                  installed shortly after Winthrop's move to Rock Hill in 1895. The Pettus Archives
                  has countless photographs of the fountain with freshmen just entering Winthrop's hallowed
                  halls, with students enjoying a beautiful spring day on front campus, with student
                  body presidents and Winthrop presidents being thrown in its basin, with fiery fall
                  foliage behind its tinkling waters, and with sparkling ice and show on a cold winter's
                  day. The fountain has seen the years unfold for Winthrop as have those generations
                  of us who hold wonderful memories of our time on campus. Gina Price White '83, Director
                  of Archives and Special CollectionsAccording to the Louise Pettus Archives and Special Collections at Winthrop, the current fountain in front of Tillman Hall was constructed sometime between 1918-19 and is the second fountain in this location. It replaced an earlier fountain that was installed around 1897 and moved at some point between 1912-13. The original fountain was moved to Roddey Courtyard shortly after Roddey was completed in 1920. By the 1950s, it had been replaced by the “boy and fish” fountain.

black and white photo collage of the fountain throughout history


Fountain Traditions

Alumni have fond memories of the fountain that is currently on the front lawn, as it has served as the place where many Winthrop traditions have been held over the years. The fountain has been the backdrop for many Winthrop traditions, including:

black and white photo of the daisy chain tradition with the fountain in the backgroundDaisy Chain

In 1903, President Johnson brought the idea of the Daisy Chain to campus in an effort to promote Winthrop to state and local dignitaries and community members. Daisies were gathered by students and made into a long chain with rope and ivy, and after singing class songs, the president of the senior class signified the passing of the senior rank to the junior class by giving her mortar board to the junior class president. Seniors then “capped” the juniors and the daisy chain was left wrapped around the designated class tree. The tradition originally followed Commencement, but as the years passed and enrollment grew, the Daisy Chain moved to the day before Commencement and relocated from the fountain to the athletic field adjacent to Crawford. The tradition was phased out in 1961.

black and white photo of students behind the fountainSGA President Dunked in the Fountain

The Student Government Association established a tradition popular among students in the 1940s, ’50s, '60s, and ’70s. Each spring, students assembled to observe the installation ceremony for officers of the student government and various campus organizations, which included the outgoing SGA president dunking the incoming president in the fountain. In 1960, immediately following the installation of the SGA president, students surprised then university president Charles Davis with a spontaneous dunk in the fountain.

black and white photo of the magnolia tree lit for the holidays with the fountain
                     in the foregroundWinthrop Annual Tree Lighting

Originally, a decorated Christmas tree in Main Building (now Tillman Hall) was lit to usher in the Christmas season. In 1935, the Christmas tree lighting was moved to the magnolia tree on front campus adjacent to the fountain.

In 1969 the ceremony became an official event, and it continues today as part of the City of Rock Hill’s ChristmasVille, an annual celebration of the Christmas season. The Alumni Association and the Student Alumni Council host the Winthrop Annual Tree Lighting where hundreds of attendees gather on the front lawn.


The Fountain Restoration Project Scope and Timeline

Work began on the Fountain Restoration Project in 2020. A study was commissioned by Winthrop through the generosity of an anonymous donor to determine the design and cost to replace the fountain. The study determined the cost and practicality to redesign the existing fountain area and improve accessibility at the site. The redesigned area will include paved surfaces, replace the existing fountain and provide seating. The existing fountain will be removed, and a new similarly sized and configured fountain will be installed. 

The run-up to this project has been a labor of love on the part of so many campus
                  stakeholders who have enthusiastically supported not only getting the water flowing
                  again, but truly making this a distinctive feature with fantastic possibilities for
                  the future. I have a catbird seat to the work and can't wait to see it starting. Edward
                  A. Serna '02, Winthrop PresidentThe renderings above reflect design renderings for the overall design of the project. Accessibility at the site will also be improved, not only by providing new paved surfaces, but also modifying the existing parking and replacing the existing sidewalk. An arrangement of brick and concrete pavement associated with the new fountain will surround it and connect the fountain to the sidewalk, as well as allowing seating to surround the fountain.

We are excited to share that on-site work is underway to replace Winthrop University’s iconic fountain visible from Oakland Avenue. Southern Builders of York County Inc. won the project bid. The tentative project schedule is below, which is weather and material delivery dependent:

  • June 2023
    • Start mobilizing, install site fence, silt fence, pot hole to identify utilities - completed
    • Demolition of flagpole and old fountain - completed
    • Excavate for new foundation slab - completed
  • July 2023
    • Pour foundation slab - completed
  • August
    • New precast fountain parts delivered and set - completed
  • September
    • Set pavers - completed
  • November
    • New flagpole installation - completed
  • December
    • Project completion early December

Project Work
(last updated Oct. 27, 2023)

An aerial photo of the old fountain prior to the beginning of construction and demolition.
                     A fence has been put up around the construction areaa photo of the old fountain behind the construction fence. a sign in front of the
                     fence says construction zone, authorized personnel onlyAnother angle of the old fountain behind the construction fence. a lamppost with a
                     winthrop banner is visible in the foregrounda close up of someone's hands holding a piece of the old fountain after the demolitiona photo of an excavator beside part of the fountain during the demolition processanother angle of the excavator during the demolition of the fountaina photo of the empty ground after the demolition of the old fountain is completenew concrete has been poured into the hole where the old fountain was locatedanother angle of the new concrete pad. Tillman Hall is visible in the backgroundFountain parts deliveredFountain parts deliveredFountain parts deliveredFountain ConstructionFountain ConstructionFountain ConstructionFountain ConstructionFountain Construction Fountain Construction Fountain Construction Fountain Construction Fountain Construction Fountain Construction Fountain Construction Fountain Construction Fountain Construction Fountain Construction Fountain Construction Fountain ConstructionFountain Construction Fountain Construction Fountain ConstructionFountain Construction


Fundraising

To date, more than $488,000 has been raised toward a $500,000 project goal. The Classes of 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973 and 1974 selected the Fountain Restoration Project as their 50-year reunion fundraising projects. Thanks to these reunion classes and the generosity of Winthrop alumni, community members and friends, the fountain will come to life again and continue to be a significant asset to the beauty of the Winthrop campus. Other significant gifts have been donated by community groups such as the Herbert and Anna Lutz Foundation in Chester County. That organization awarded Winthrop a $25,000 grant in 2021.

For more information about the Fountain Restoration Project, please contact Lori Tuttle, executive director of alumni relations and reunion giving, at tuttlel@winthrop.edu or 803/323-3049. Click below to support the Fountain Restoration Project.


Fountain Restoration Project in the News