01/22/11 181 W, 3 I - + 4 - 4 Water Pump? Water Fountain? Looking Closely at Metropolitan Hall

You've probably seen the below picture of Metropolitan Hall from the North Carolina State Archives (N_53_15_7925). Built in 1870, the three-story municipal building (and fire station) was located on the east side of Fayetteville Street between Morgan and Hargett Streets. Click to enlarge:

North Carolina State Archives photo

Upon close examination of that photo, the below object is noticed.  Click to slightly enlarge.

North Carolina State Archives photo

Water pump? Water fountain? In the map accompanying my essay on the fire of 1851, one of the city's few water pumps was located in front of the former City Market at the same location. This object is perhaps a successor of a "city pump." Looks like a water fountain, for humans and horses. Perhaps there's also a spigot not show? Or even an attachment for fire hose, er, suction hose? The picture isn't dated. The fire hydrants, which appeared in 1887, were not installed in front of this building, and thus would not be pictured. Time for more research!

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