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About Children's Memorial Fountain
History of the Fountain
The story of the fountain begins with Nathan L. Michael who was born in Germany on June 16, 1865. His mother died when he was 14 and when his father remarried, he decided to immigrate to America. He left Germany on his 16th birthday and borrowed the money to make the trip. He arrived in the United States with on $1.00 in his pocket.
He was a prominent businessman and owned Michael Clothing Store. In addition, he was a Vice President of Colonial Finance, Director of First American Bank and Trust, Director of Lima Telephone and Telegraph Company, a President of the Temple Beth Israel and a member of the B'nai Britt and the Masonic Order. He was a trustee of the Allen County Children's Welfare Association and Family Welfare Association. It is reported that he was largely responsible for the organization of said associations.
A Generous History
To celebrate forty successful years of his clothing store, on the anniversary date, Mr. Michael gave donations to Associated Charities to alleviate the suffering of the poor in Lima and the Red Cross to be used in the war relief effort. (The Lima Times Democratic January 14, 1918) His wife Rose Michael was active as well. She was the President of the Jewish Ladies' Aid Society and was largely responsible for building the Temple Beth Israel on W. Market Street. She died March 31, 1918.
Mr. Michael died March 26, 1926 at the age of 69 while wintering in Florida. At the time of his death, he bequeathed money for the erection of a fountain that was to be built in Faurot Park. The fountain is patterned after one in New Orleans, LA and was to cost approximately $4,800. The bequest was for $5,000. The inscription on the fountain reads: "Given to the little children of Lima by Nathan and Rose Michael, March 13, 1926 as a testimonial of love for their home city. They loved the beautiful and gave that all might enjoy."
The original fountain had a wading pool that was closed when polio became a community health problem. BOFC members acquired donations to restore the fountain and add a splash park feature to replace the wading pool.