What could have been an eye-sore (albeit a useful one) is thankfully a place of beauty and peacefulness in downtown Statesboro.
Amidst the vehicle traffic, nestled in the forked intersection where East Main Street and Savannah Avenue merge at the edge of downtown, stands a flowing, time-worn fountain at the threshold of a serene alcove of azaleas and camellias known as Triangle Park.
In the late 1890s the triangular piece of land was owned by W.D. (Dan) Davis and was the home of the artesian well that supplied water to the “village” of Statesboro. As the town grew, and outgrew the capabilities of the well, it seemed that the logical solution for an expanding city would be to use the land for a higher capacity water works system. The citizens voted in favor of the project in 1903, and the land was purchased from Davis by the City.
There was only one problem. A small group of citizens (four to be exact), with a healthy dose of forethought and vision, believed that the new water works system would have a negative impact on the atmosphere and aesthetic of downtown Statesboro. They were concerned that the noise of the system would be disturbing to the public and even frighten horses as they pulled carriages and buggies into town. They also thought a water works system would be a visual blight on the otherwise picturesque downtown.
Since water was a utility and a necessity for a growing city, the small group needed a solution that would accompany their complaints that could be presented to City Council. Their solution? They purchased four lots located on Hill Street for the City to use for the new water works system.
The lots were presented as a GIFT to the City. However, it was not an unconditional gift. They offered the new land to the City on the condition that the City turn the small triangle of land into a park and never allow any building to be constructed on the property. The City agreed and built the new water works on the newly gifted lots on Hill Street.
It took a few years, but then in 1907 the City began to make progress on the park by planting rows of sycamore trees that would soon grow tall enough to provide ample shade to park-goers. Then, finally, in 1926, Triangle Park was officially named and opened for public use with seating, swings, and playground equipment. The following year, in 1927, the City installed a pool with a tall flowing water fountain.
Over the years the park has seen many changes. A horse watering trough was added. The sycamore trees and playground equipment were removed. Azaleas, roses, and camellias were planted. And a plaque in honor of Vietnam veterans was installed.
The fountain and pool remain as the focal point of the park and a favorite location for locals and visitors photographing life’s special moments.
The Water Trough
If you’ve been to Triangle Park, you may have noticed the old horse water trough now used as a planter. The trough was originally located near the iconic (and long gone) Walnut Tree in downtown Statesboro on East Main Street in front of the Courthouse.
The trough was created around the same time that the new water works project was being completed, and possibly even funded by the same bonds that were approved by voters to build the water works system.
At the time, around 1904, downtown Statesboro did have a few water troughs but they were of poor condition and not well maintained. As a means to encourage locals and visitors to frequent, and linger in, the downtown business district the City decided to build and maintain a sturdy new watering trough. In 1905 the trough was completed and placed on East Main Street at the edge of the Courthouse Square.
The water trough was eventually moved to Triangle Park where it remains to this day. Without the need to serve as a water source for parched equine, the City has converted the trough into a planter with a small plaque commemorating its history.