Ceremony Celebrates Comeback Of Catharine Thorn Fountain


A spray anew: the Catharine Thorn Fountain is on again | Photo: Rob Lybeck

A spray anew: the Catharine Thorn Fountain is on again | Photo: Rob Lybeck

While a neighborhood crowd of onlookers including State Representative Jordan Harris and candidate for City Controller Brett Mandel gathered in eager anticipation, the historic Catharine Thorn fountain at the 23rd & South/Grays Ferry triangle was officially turned on for the first time in years.

Originally a water trough in the late 1800’s for weary horses traveling up Grays Ferry Avenue (then a major roadway) from the south into the city, the fountain had in recent years fallen into periods of disrepair.

Thanks to efforts by the South of South Neighborhood Association (SOSNA) and a number of concerned community members, the fountain will flow freely with each new spring—and serve as an even better centerpiece for the annual Plazapalooza festival that brings live music and Grace Tavern’s liquid refreshments to the triangle.

About the author

Rob Lybeck is fascinated by Philadelphia's architecture and its embellishments. He endeavors to raise an awareness of the city's unique built environment through his photography. What began years ago as the chosen theme for a course assignment, has developed into a lifelong passionate pursuit: photographing the many diverse architectural styles and building details of the metropolitan area. His work can be seen here on flickr.


  1. Beautiful photo with lots of personality–great job Rob!

  2. Thanks for the article. We all had a great time on Saturday. Just a note that the Grays Ferry Triangles Committee is a joint effort of SOSNA, Center City Residents Assn (CCRA), South Street West Business Assn (SSWBA), and South of South Townwatch. Volunteers from all these organizations are working to improve the Triangles Area.

    Hope that everyone will join us for Plazapalooza on May 4!

  3. Great shot! Really captures the happiness that was happening. Wish I could have made it to the event. I had no idea what the fountain was originally for, THANK YOU for informing me! Makes me love this little center piece even more now.

    ..i love my city.

  4. I am so happy to see you in print. May many more opportunities come your way as you and your camera wend your way through the city capturing architectural gems.

Leave a Reply

Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.

Recent Posts
Without Remediation, Diamond In The Rough A Risky Play

Without Remediation, Diamond In The Rough A Risky Play

September 22, 2017  |  Vantage

How safe is safe enough? Environmental researcher Coryn Wolk explores the potential public health risks at a youth baseball field built on top of an industrial alloy production site surrounded by an oil refining complex > more

Wayne Junction Moves Forward With Revitalization

Wayne Junction Moves Forward With Revitalization

September 20, 2017  |  News

Developer Ken Weinstein unveils transit-oriented development plans for Wayne Junction district. GroJLart has the story > more

Inside Northeast Philly's Temple Of Ryerss

Inside Northeast Philly’s Temple Of Ryerss

September 19, 2017  |  Harry K's Encyclopedia

Harry K. takes us on a fall field trip to the Ryerss Mansion, an eccentric, little-known house museum in the Great Northeast > more

Unlisted Philadelphia: Locust Theatre

Unlisted Philadelphia: Locust Theatre

September 14, 2017  |  Unlisted Philadelphia

Ben Leech spotlights unique and significant buildings not listed on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places with his architectural illustration series, Unlisted Philadelphia. In this installment, a marvelous movie house in West Philly > more

Monument Lab: A City-Wide Art Museum That Asks Us To

Monument Lab: A City-Wide Art Museum That Asks Us To “Leave Fingerprints”

September 13, 2017  |  Vantage

We ought to write our own history, say the organizers of Monument Lab, who launch their multi-week public art and civic introspection festival today in the wake of Charlottesville, Dallas, and Durham. Nathaniel Popkin catches up with Monument Lab founder Paul Farber, who asks us all, "What is an appropriate monument for Philadelphia today?" > more

An Original Keeps It Classy On Chestnut Street

An Original Keeps It Classy On Chestnut Street

September 12, 2017  |  The Shadow Knows

From furniture and furnace manufacturing to a 1980s video arcade, 1606 Chestnut Street has kept busy for 127 years. The Shadow has the details on this Center City standout > more