In the aftermath of the destruction of the Main Street fountain late Sunday night, many island residents were left wondering if the landmark had been destroyed beyond repair, and what the town will do to restore or replace the fixture of downtown Nantucket.
While there are still some uncertainties around the situation, town manager Libby Gibson told the Current on Monday that discussions had already taken place regarding the future of the fountain.
"I was advised this afternoon by the deputy DPW director for facilities that he was actually contacted by the company that fixed the fountain most recently," Gibson said, referring to Cassidy Bros. Forge in Rowley, Mass., the company that fixed the fountain after it was hit and toppled over by a car in March 2020. "They are going to undertake an evaluation of how to replace it. So, we are waiting on that. We do not yet know if it will need to go out to bid. It is safe to say, the DPW is actively working to determine how best to repair and/or replace this historic downtown memorial. We are also considering what to put there in the meantime, such as a holiday tree."
On Monday, the Nantucket Historical Association announced that it had updated its history on the fountain, including the fascinating anecdote that the monument had been "dislodged and knocked over" at least 13 times over the past 80 years.
"When it was reinstalled after repairs in 1968, it was placed further west on Main Street, close to the intersection with Union Street, in an attempt — ultimately unsuccessful — to move it further from harm’s way," the NHA's Michael Harrison wrote.
While it had happened at least a dozen times before, Sunday night's incident seemed more like an obliteration of the fountain than a toppling. The impact of the Chevy Silverado colliding with the monument left it in numerous pieces on the cobblestones, and it remains to be seen whether the historic centerpiece of Main Street can be rebuilt.
Much of the online discussion regarding Sunday night's accident focused on whether the fountain was in an appropriate place in the middle of a busy downtown street, or whether it could be protected by bollards, raised on some type of concrete pedestal, or protected from motor vehicles by some other means.
Yet in a poll we conducted Tuesday on the Nantucket Current Instagram page indicated island residents and visitors overwhelmingly want to see the fountain repaired and restored exactly how it was in the past. More than 3,000 people voted for that possibility: