Ermintrude – The mystery of a disapperaing statue in Prescott

By Elisabeth F. Ruffner

As a matter of record, the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors in 1910, following a well established custom in many places across  the country,  purchased a stock figure from an Eastern manufacturer.  With two basins and a fountain, as well as a figure of a woman holding a torch, the structure was placed on the Courthouse Plaza.  According to a report in the Prescott Courier, “hundreds like her were stamped out in pieces and soldered together at the factory to be shipped all over the country to decorate courthouse squares, parks, and the grounds of private homes”.

Catalogues from those foundries were used by many jurisdictions and fraternal organizations to embellish town centers, government buildings and lodges.  A boom of feverishly planning and constructing buildings and parks after a prolonged national era of depression, riased interest in decorative outdoor art.

In 1905, the Elks Lodge completed a building built in the custom of the times  as a lodge hall, second floor offices and ground floor retail uses. A statue to be constructed from a stock figure was ordered, this time of copper sheathing over an armature.  The prominence of the copper industry before World War I led the Prescott lodge to acquire the milled copper from Jerome. With much ceremony, the statue was installed on their new building on East Gurley St.

Weather and time damaged the basins of the Yavapai County Courthouse Plaza fountain which was made of soft pressed metals including zinc.  The fountain was dismantled and stored in the basement of the courthouse, leaving the basin surrounded by a fence in the northeast quadrant of the Courthouse Plaza.

Author: PrescottWomanMagazine

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