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This dentist tried to get Washingtonians to stop using whiskey

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From overlooked roadside attractions to unusual museums and obscure natural wonders, Local Hidden Gems will showcase some of the unique and unexpected treasures that make America extraordinary. We emphasize charm, surprise and delight.

Local hidden gem: Temperance Fountain, Washington, DC

Choose your poison – ice water or whiskey.

Henry D. Cogswell, a San Francisco dentist, donated one of his series of temperance fountains to Washington, D.C., with the idea of ​​encouraging passersby to drink ice water instead of downing a shot of whiskey. It has stood since 1884 as a symbol of the movement that led to Prohibition.

The fountain is both dramatic and often overlooked in the nation’s capital. It has a life-size heron on top and an intertwined pair of fish (some say dolphins) at its center, which years ago supplied the ice water from their snouts. California Senator Sheridan Downey tried to replace it in the 1940s, calling the fountain a “monstrosity of art.” It survived.

Local Hidden Gems: A spotlight on the American treasures in our backyards

Horses also took part in the game, taking water to the troughs for their enjoyment.

And to really test the temptation, the fountain stood in front of the popular Apex Liquor Store for years. “It was ironic,” says Garrett Peck, an author and historian who led walking tours in D.C. before moving to Santa Fe.

“It’s a relic of a bygone era, but it’s a piece of history and it meant something,” Peck added.

And even though the ice water no longer flows from the fountain, there are plenty of places nearby where you can get whiskey.

Where: 7th St & Indiana Ave NW, Washington, DC

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