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Group wants fountain to flow again

FRANKFORT — Martha Moore says Kentucky history is in her blood. As president of the Franklin County Trust for Historic Preservation, she led the restoration of the historic Glen Willis House.

And now she has her sights on getting water flowing in Frankfort's Old Capitol Fountain again, The (Frankfort) State Journal reports.

The fountain was built in 1839 under the administration of Gov. Charles Wickliffe and has not functioned since 1960, Moore said. The last time it was used, leaking water turned up several blocks away.

The people of Frankfort were probably energized when the fountain was built before the city even had paved streets, Moore said, and restoring it could have a similar effect in the 21st century.

"There's nothing prettier than running water," she said.

Compared to the Willis House, restoring the fountain should be easy, Moore said, estimating that it would cost about $75,000.

The Franklin County Historic Preservation Trust and the Kentucky Colonels have donated a combined $4,000 so far.

"That's our heritage," Moore said. "It's going to be lost if we can't preserve it."

The trust began working on the fountain's restoration in 2002 and received a grant, but the funds had to be returned when the grant expired. The grant can be reapplied for, Moore said, and she hopes some of the money can be raised through donations.

"There are 668,000 schoolchildren in Kentucky," she said, and one of the first things they ask when they arrive at the Old Capitol for field trips is, "Why is the fountain off?" She suggested asking each Kentucky schoolchild for $1 toward the restoration.

Moore is originally from Lexington and says the history of the Bluegrass State is in her blood. Her late father was historical writer John Wilson Townsend, and Moore studied history at Transylvania University. "I like restoring things," she said. "I think if you don't do something to help your community, you're not much of a citizen."

She says the fountain is something that should interest not only everyone in Frankfort, but also everyone across Kentucky.

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