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WDKX.com » Blog » City Celebrates 25th Anniversary of Downtown Drinking Fountain
Aug 1st 2014 12:02 pm
City Celebrates 25th Anniversary of Downtown Drinking Fountain

The City of Rochester celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Miss Jane Pittman Public Drinking Fountain at a public ceremony at the Sibley Building.

Midge Thomas, wife of the late Dr. Freddie Thomas, came up with the idea to donate a public drinking fountain after her experience in downtown in 1987. She had a need for a drink in order to take medication and was charged for water. That sparked her vision to install a free water fountain at Liberty Pole Plaza.

The Miss Jane Pittman Public Drinking Fountain was named by The Freddie Thomas Foundation's sixty member "WE CARE" committee. The Committee chose the historical name based upon Ernest Gaines' novel "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman."

The unveiling of the drinking fountain was the climax of the Rochester "Main Street Improvement Project" under the administration of then Mayor Thomas P. Ryan.

On July 30, 1989 thousands shared in the unveiling ceremony while Mayor Ryan, Ernest Gaines and Midge Thomas took their ceremonial drink from the brass fountain.

Twenty five years later, the fountain is still in its original condition and serves thirsty out-of-town visitors, the homeless, persons with disabilities, seeing-eye dogs and our entire community.

As part of the ceremony, a surprise Mayoral proclamation was presented to Midge Thomas. In the proclamation, Mayor Lovely A. Warren recognized Midge Thomas' many contributions to the Rochester community, and declared July 30, 2014 to be "Midge Thomas Day" in the city of Rochester.