Burnside Fountain

Burnside Fountain

About Burnside Fountain

A popular landmark at the southeast entrance to Worcester Common is the Burnside Fountain – fondly known as “Turtle Boy.” Graced by a bronze statue of a carefree boy riding a hawksbill sea turtle, it was designed as a watering trough for horses. Water originally poured from the turtle’s mouth into a series of four drinking basins for horses on top of the pedestal. At the rear of the pedestal is a ground-level trough for dogs. Today the monument no longer functions as a fountain. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries a philanthropic movement in this country centered on the difficult lives of the many horses that provided transportation in cities. Philanthropists wishing to ease the lives of these animals provided public watering troughs. Some were quite simple, but others, such as the Burnside Fountain, featured handsome sculptures that were true works of art. Harriet P. F. Burnside gave $5,000 to the City in 1903 to create a sculpture for the public and their horses in memory of her father. Designed and sculpted by Charles Harvey, the work on the “Turtle Boy” 13 14 sculpture was overseen by noted American sculptor Daniel Chester French. Sherry Fry completed the sculpture after Harvey’s death. Architect Henry Bacon, who later designed the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., was responsible for the design of the pedestal. 

Courtesy of Preservation Worcester

Photo courtesy of Erb Photography