The Turlock Historical Society Board of Directors has taken on the effort to restore the 1927 fountain that sits in front of the main entrance of the original Turlock High School building and current Turlock Community Theatre.
The 1927 Alert says that the senior class of ’27 decided to complete the fundraising started by the classes of ’23 and ’25 for a fountain to be placed in front of the main entrance. Thomas Moscato, under the direction of Art Teacher Viola Siebe (later Sonntag) designed the statuary of the fountain.
THS President Rob Geiger has provided much information regarding the project in his attempt to outreach to the community regarding this project.
The Society is currently working with the Turlock School District and volunteers on the fountain restoration project. A committee has been formed, estimates have been received, and fundraising has begun for the fountain restoration project.
Rob Geiger is heading up the project and said “We have a sculptor who will be commissioned to recast the pedestal and bowl and carve a replication of the boy and dolphin. The fountain and pond restoration has been estimated and we are awaiting completion of the schematic drawings as well as a fundraising threshold of $10,000. With that money in hand, the project will commence. Total estimates, exclusive of plumbing labor are right at $16,000.”
The construction at the Canal Drive high school site began prior to 1920; building sections at a time. The east wing was completed in 1920 and from that time until 1925, classes were held at both campuses (the former campus at Laurel and High Streets – the current site of Turlock Covenant Church). 1926 was the first year that all classes were held at the new campus.With the completion of the new buildings, the landscaping and look of a completed campus took shape.
The 1928 Alert shows the view of the completed fountain as one exited the main doors. The fountain is the centerpiece of the entrance whether arriving on campus or departing from the building, it was a source of school pride at that time.
About 70 years later and after a 1979 fire, a lengthy community effort to restore the auditorium to its original beauty (inside and out) took place. The first performance in the restored Turlock Community Theatre was in 1999 and the landmark building took on new significance. Not just part of a school campus anymore, the structure welcomes patrons from Turlock and surrounding communities for various types of performances from local dancers to famous entertainers. The restored building, the wonderful auditorium interior and the quality of events hosted at the theatre all make the historic building a source of community pride.
Unfortunately, the fountain in its poor condition is the entrance center piece and is often featured in the foreground of pictures used to promote Turlock. The statue of the boy is missing the head, the dolphin is deteriorating, and the fountain’s base is dilapidated.
Inside the 2009 Visitors Bureau publication an advertisement for the theatre spotlights the statue. Another photo appears in the guide showcasing the historic Turlock scenery in which Rob Geiger says “It is regrettable that this photo was used; highlighting the disastrous condition of the fountain against the entrance to the beautiful auditorium.”
Other photos highlight the quality design of the fountain base, but also show its dilapidated condition.
“We hope that community pride will rally support to correct this view,” says Geiger. “We believe our community deserves a restored fountain to complete the beautiful picture on Canal Drive, we need your support.”
Contributions can be forwarded to:
The Turlock Historical Society – Fountain Fund
P.O. Box 18
Turlock, CA 95381
The Turlock Historical Society has a stated mission “to collect, chronicle, and preserve historical data, verbal accounts, and artifacts pertaining to the history of the City of Turlock for future generations.” – Turlock, California – A Pictorial History, 1950-2005 (Santos, Soderstrom, Sonntag Harris, and Harris)