Langdale fountain operating again after restoration

Published 9:30 am Thursday, July 15, 2021

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VALLEY — One of the most beloved spots in the Langdale community is getting a makeover. The LaFayette Lanier Memorial Park, which was dedicated in late September 1935, has a fountain that’s working once again, and it will soon be working better than ever. After a dormant period, the water is flowing again at the fountain.

When a new ring is installed near its center, the jets of water will make for a really attractive sight along Highway 29. Some colorful lighting will make it look really good during the night.

The makeover is coming together really fast. An idea to get it done originated at this year’s Langdale Reunion, held in early June inside the family life center at Langdale Methodist Church. Paul Meadows and Bill Gilbert asked a big crowd in attendance if they’d liked to see the fountain working again. Many Langdale natives present were very supportive of the idea and raised a total of $2,700 was raised to make it happen.

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With that kind of public support behind the project, the City of Valley got behind it. Men from the Public Works Department got the fountain working again. A new ring will soon be going in to get the jets of water going higher.

There’s been extensive landscaping around the park’s memorial bench. A Valley business, Ponder’s Nursery, is heading the landscaping.

“The Langdale Fountain is a special place to many people, and we are most grateful for this to be coming about,” Gilbert said. “It’s being entirely funded by private donations from people who truly love this community. I know everyone is pleased to see this work going on. I know it’s going to be really nice when it’s finished. In the recent past, the fountain area has served as a backdrop for local high school students having their prom photos made. We’d like to see that going on once again. We hope everyone will be visiting this lovely spot. It’s such a beautiful place.”

Peace and serenity can be found in the cool spray of a fountain.

The fountain is the centerpiece of the LaFayette Lanier Memorial Park, which was dedicated on Sept. 26, 1935. It’s in memory of Mill Superintendent LaFayette Lanier II. He was a much-beloved community leader who died at an early age in 1930. A large gathering was present on the day it was dedicated.

“The fountain is built of unfinished Tennessee marble hewn in blocks,” reported The Chattahoochee Valley Times. “It is well shaped with a bronze piece of iris and water lilies in the center. Amber, white and blue lights shed their soft radiance through the spray which comes up at different intervals. Goldfish swim in the pool. The park is a sunken garden below the street elevation. The bench of polished Tennessee marble is about ten feet long. It bears the inscription ‘In memory of LaFayette Lanier II, 1882-1930, erected by his friends in River View, Fairfax, Langdale, Shawmut, Lanett and West Point.’”

Speaking at the dedication ceremony was Lanier’s eldest son, LaFayette Lanier III, and Langdale Mill employee Judson Reeves. Younger sons Bryant Lanier and Harry Lanier unveiled the bench. There were floral tributes from Valley school children, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts. Flowers were presented to Lanier’s widow and his mother, Mrs. LaFayette Lanier Sr., Marie Johnson and Craig Draper.

Private donations in support of the fountain are not a new thing. The fountain was built in the dark days of the Great Depression with money raised from the local community. Large donations were not asked for or accepted. It was something the common people rallied behind. “Those who wished gave small donations,” reads The Chattahoochee Valley Times. “No one’s coin was too small.”

The memorial park was built across Highway 29 from the newly opened LaFayette Lanier School. Constructed by Batson-Cook, the LaFayette Lanier School replaced a building that had burned to the ground in January of that same year. Students attending the Langdale school finished the year by attending classes at Langdale gym and local churches. The new building cost approximately $65,000 and was dedicated on Monday, Sept. 2, 1935.