Ontario, California: Temperance Fountain

Erected by the Woman's Christian Temperance Union in 1908 to give Ontario's men one less reason to walk into a bar.

C St., Ontario, CA
In the median of Hwy 83/Euclid Ave., on the north side of its intersection with C St. About two miles south of I-10 exit 51.
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Visitor Tips and News About Temperance Fountain

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WCTU Fountain

The WCTU Temperance fountain is turned off. It is dry as a bone. I visited it on July 27, 2020, and no water came from it. So disappointing!

[Patrick Southam, 08/05/2020]

The fountain was turned on in 1908 as a way to encourage Californians to drink water, not booze. Perhaps its mission has been completed, or maybe its 110-year-old plumbing just needs a rest.

Temperance Fountain.

WCTU Fountain

The Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) was one of the most influential of the various movements calling for the abolition of alcohol in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Carrie Nation, its most (in)famous member, would go to saloons, sometimes accompanied by hymn-singing women, then wreck them with a hatchet.

The temperance movement became so politically influential that it managed to get the 18th Amendment passed, which abolished the sale of alcohol in the U.S. The ladies also realized that thirsty men, in an age before bottled water and public drinking fountains, might slip into a saloon to get a drink of water and then be tempted to drink something stronger. The WCTU therefore funded the construction of public drinking fountains in cities throughout the U.S.

The fountain in Ontario was dedicated on July 4, 1908. The ladies of the local chapter of the WTCU declared during its dedication that it was "(a) drinking fountain where only the pure, sparkling water can be had at any time by the thirsty one." It was moved to its current spot in 1975 and still provides quenching water to thirsty ones.

[Jason Britton, 06/15/2013]

Nearby Offbeat Places

World's Largest Handmade Candy CaneWorld's Largest Handmade Candy Cane, Ontario, CA - < 1 mi.
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Madonna of the TrailMadonna of the Trail, Upland, CA - 3 mi.
In the region:
Triforium, Los Angeles, CA - 34 mi.

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