Lathrop Cooley Fountain

The drinking fountain on the town square in Medina, Ohio is more than just a momento to a bygone era, but a long lasting reminder of an everlasting movement. It bears the name of one Reverend Lathrop Cooley, preacher in Cleveland and summer resident of Medina. Donated by his wife in 1910 after his death it is a support for the temperance movement. Her hope was that people would drink the clear water of the fountain and not need to turn to alcohol for nourishment. This hope has lasted for over one hundred years as people often speak of the clean, tasty drinking water available for free.

The small town of 1000 people had several problems when Cooley moved into town. There were several bars in the town, and a brothel had opened up nearby.

Over the last hundred years, Medina has gone through major changes. What was once a small agricultural town has evolved into a bustling exurb that will continue to see growth in years to come. This growth was followed by Cooley as he lived in the town from the 1880' s until shortly before his death in 1910. His house in the city was just two blocks from the Square that makes up the central hub of the town. Though the house has been replaced the memory of what this great, but long forgotten man did lives on with the drinking fountain erected for him.

A few things have remained the same, however, throughout the years. The Medina Square is a true icon of the city's past, and one of the most important people in Medina's history is Lathrop Cooley. Reverend Cooley is not often remembered in the way that he should be, but the fountain on the Square stands as a testament to his impact on Medina. We are reminded of Lathrop Cooley every time we take a drink of refreshing water on the Square.

Images

Cooley Fountain 1965

Cooley Fountain 1965

Lathrop Cooley Fountain as seen in 1965 with the old fountain on the square in the background. The fountain in this picture has stood for over fifty years in memory of the influential pastor, philanthropist, and resident of the city of Medina. It stands as support for the temperance movement in Medina and the memory of a widow. Image used courtesy of Cleveland Memory. View File Details Page

Lathrop Cooley

Lathrop Cooley

Lathrop Cooley poses here as a board member for Hiram College soon after he paid for a new telescope for the college. The reverend also sponsored many businesses and ventures in north east Ohio. Mr. Cooley left enough money for his widow to pay for a $2000 marble fountain, fund a hospital, and give money to charity. Picture used of Courtesy of Hiram College View File Details Page

The Franklin Church

The Franklin Church

It is known today as Franklin Circle Church, but in Lathrop Cooley's time it was known as the Disciples of Christ Church. Located in Cleveland on Franklin Circle, Cooley served as reverend there several times in the 1859s). His influence over the area might have even reached across the entire country, as nineteenth President James A. Garfield served as a reverend at Franklin Circle Church in 1857 and would have very likely gotten to know Cooley quite well. Cooley's strong Christian background, along with his conservative outlook, helped give Medina its identity early on as a town. Pictures used courtesy of Franklin Circle Church in Cleveland, OH View File Details Page

"He that giveth a cup of cold water"

"He that giveth a cup of cold water"

In a time were Medina's Square held several saloons, the pro-temperance monument would not have gone unnoticed. Mrs. Cooley likely paraphrased from Matthew 10:14 or Mark 9:41, using biblical fundamentalism to support the temperance movement. In addition, the quotes mentioning of the reward of the disciples serves as a momento to her husband's work under the Disciple of Christ Church in Medina. View File Details Page

Honest water that never left man in the mire

Honest water that never left man in the mire

While sitting around an extravagant table, filled with almost any food the heart could desire, a call for the finest wine is made to glorify the gods. Yet one man objects to the overindulgence, asking for nothing but "honest water, which never left man in the mire". Quoting directly from Shakespeare's Timon of Athens, it shows Mrs. Cooley's admiration for her husband's simple and honest lifestyle who was often found helping farmers in the field during harvest time or promoting community events around the Medina area such as a "fresh air excursion" picnic. Combined with Mrs. Cooley's support of the temperance movement, the Cooley's planted a honest and simple lifestyle in the heart of Medina. View File Details Page

South Court Street Home

South Court Street Home

Lathrop Cooley's lived in the heart of Medina, two blocks off of the Square. This shows his prominence as a proud citizen of the town. This drawing dates back to around 1900, and shows Cooley's Medina household on 524 South Court Street. Although his home is no longer around, his importance in the community still stands strong to this day. View File Details Page

Audio

He That Giveth a Cup of Cold Water

This quote, as written on the fountain, makes a biblical reference to Matthew 10:24. Religion was a major factor for the temperance movement which Mrs. Cooley was a major supporter of. View File Details Page

Honest Water that Never Left Man in the Mire

This quote from Shakespeare shows the determination and valor of Mrs. Lathrop Cooley in her temperance beliefs. View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Alex Fuerst, Collin Beacher, Ken Kutcel, “Lathrop Cooley Fountain,” Discover Medina, accessed April 29, 2017, http://discovermedina.org/items/show/40.

Subjects

Tour navigation:  Previous | Tour Info | Next

Share this Story