Art On Main
Whitewater Community Pieces
The Birge Fountain was donated to the City of Whitewater in 1903 by Julius Birge who in 1839 had become the first child born to European settlers in Walworth County. The fountain was made by the J.W. Fiske Company of New York and consisted of a cast iron base and five figures made of zinc and painted to look like bronze. In 1983 the theft of one of cherubs and dolphins prompted a refurbishment which resulted in the recasting in bronze of the four cherubs on dolphins by UW-Whitewater Professor James Wenkle. The "lost wax" technique was used and four new bronze pieces were then painted white to match the remainder of the statue. The fountain was vandalized in 1998 leading to the eventual recasting of the Maid of the Mist in bronze by Fort Atkinson artist Jerry Sawyer. In 2001 the five bronze figures were reinstalled and the remaining parts of the fountain were painted in bronze tones to match and regain the original appearance of 100 years ago. A trust fund was also established to provide for the fountain's future needs.