QR Code Tour #13 - Wadleigh Library & Fountain
Mary Augusta Presbury Lull was a woman long before her time. She was the widow of Col. Oliver W. Lull who was killed at Port Hudson near New Orleans during the Civil War. His last words before he died of his wounds were “Thank God. I die for my country”. After his death in 1863, Mrs. Lull continued to live on Nashua Street in a beautiful two-family home on a hill overlooking Nashua Street with a circular driveway in front which led to a steep set of steps up to the front entrance. The house had been built in 1854 by Hiram Daniels and was known at the Dearborn-Lull House. The Dearborn men were all doctors who served Milford faithfully for many years.
She eventually decided to build a fountain to be called the “Soldier’s Memorial Fountain and Light” and was “to honor the gallant men of Milford of whatever nation, race or color who pledged or gave their lives to establish and maintain our American Republic”. It was her wish that the light over the fountain be kept lite and that the property always be known as Lullwood so that the name of Oliver W. Lull might live and be honored by all for what he was and for all that he gave.
There is not much information available about the design or casting of the fountain. It is a circle of stones surrounding a pedestal, a basin and what was described as an “allegorical figure of victory”. It is a bronze structure twelve feet high and stands on a granite foundation in a circular basin forty feet in circumference. Around the outside edge of the basin space was provided to place stones from every state in the Union – at the time of construction 45 stones were placed in position.
The fountain was dedicated during Milford’s Centennial Celebration on Tuesday, June 26, 1894 at 9 am by the Oliver W. Lull Post GAR.
The fountain stood in its original location until 1948-49 when it was dismantled and stored away. The town, having acquired the Dearborn Lull property at the time of Mrs. Lull’s death in 1910 but not able to take possession right away, tore down the house for the purpose of building a new library. The William Y. Wadleigh library was built and dedicated July 19, 1950. The fountain was retrived and restored to its current location, somewhat near where it had been dedicated in 1894. However, the stature had deteriorated and the elaborate top had to be eliminated, the bowl made smaller and a single light replaced the numerous colored ones.
There is an interesting connection to Milford with one of the two stones representing New Jersey, which was the third state admitted into the Union December 18, 1787. This stone was actually quarried right here in Milford from the fields of the Hutchinson Homestead and presented to the Fountain by Ludlow Patton of Orange, New Jersey in honor of his wife, Abby Hutchinson Patton who was one of the original Hutchinson singers.
Mrs. Lull was a very private person not wanting anything that she did to overshadow her husband and his sacrifice during the Civil War.
Milford Historical Society Historian
1900 Book of the Fountain by Mary Lull
1901 Ramsdell Town History
1978 Granite Town History by Winifred Wright
Milford Advance Newspaper story January 1881
Wadleigh Library files on Mary Lull