The Oregon City Council took steps Tuesday evening to protect a local landmark.
The council voted unanimously to spend $15,000 to move Iron Mike, a century-old cast-iron drinking fountain, from its present location on the sidewalk on Washington Street (Ill. 64) just west of the intersection with Fourth Street (Ill. 2) to a safer spot on the Ogle County Courthouse lawn.
The county board has agreed to share the cost of the project.
“We’re moving it 15 feet because it almost got hit by a car several years ago,” said Mayor Ken Williams. “It’s a historic icon so we need to preserve it.”
City officials decided some time ago that the fountain should be moved after it was narrowly missed by a vehicle involved in a traffic accident.
The widening of the intersection about 10 years ago brought the fountain within two feet of the traffic at the busy intersection.
Williams said at its new location on the northeast corner of the courthouse lawn, the fountain will be the focal point of a seating area with two benches and brick pavers around it.
The exact design has not yet been determined, he said.
Retired Oregon Street Superintendent Mike Bowers is in charge of the project.
Williams said the plans call for the fountain to be removed this fall, sandblasted and sealed over the winter, and then re-installed in the spring.
Commissioner Tim Krug asked about lighting for the area. He suggested an old-fashioned globe-style lamp post.
Water & Sewer Department employee Jeff Pennington asked it moving it just 15 feet is sufficient.
“A car could still jump the curb and hit it,” he said.
Williams said a decorative barrier could possibly be incorporated into the final design.
Bricks from Oregon streets will be used to pave around the fountain, he said, and volunteers are needed to clean them.
Iron Mike was presented to the city and installed by the Ogle County Humane Society in 1901.
The Illinois Humane Society began erecting public drinking fountains in 1877.
They commissioned a design “both pleasing and practical” by which water would flow at three levels, first accommodating thirsty people at the top, then horses and finally dogs and small animals near the ground level.