Decadeslong drought over: Water again flows through Studebaker Fountain

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Here’s further proof that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

The city of South Bend has received a fountain as a gift. In fact, it’s the same fountain that was donated in 1906 by the Studebaker family.

“It was the city’s major attraction in the 1900's, it really was,” Studebaker Fountain Committee Chairman Vicki McIntire said. “The chamber of commerce believes it may be again. It’s worth traveling to see. It will be a place for weddings and festivals, to come and sit around the fountain and read a good book and talk to your friends.”

John Studebaker paid $10,000 for the fountain in 1906.

Bringing it back to life all these years later has been a much more costly proposition with a total price tag topping a half million dollars.

“The Studebaker Fountain itself was entirely funded by private donors, so we’re pleased much in the same way that it was given to the city in the very first place back in the early 1900s,” said Aaron Perri, director of South Bend’s Venues, Parks and Arts.

The fountain has been put in place in Leeper Park. This week, the water was turned on for testing purposes. On Wednesday night, they will test the $120,000 LED and fiber optic lighting system.

Much like the Golden Dome, the East Race and the DiSuvero, the fountain is a local landmark that is once again part of the local landscape.

“We've got a lot of work yet to be done here at Leeper Park, we're not ready for the kind of grand reveal to the public. Donors will get a sneak peek this Sunday, but early October, the playground should be finished, all the landscaping in. We’ll remove the fencing and we'll have another community celebration then,” Perri said.

On Sunday, WNIT will debut a documentary it made on the fountain restoration starting at 9 p.m.