Fountain Square Park is an oasis in downtown Somerset and a hub of local culture and community vibrancy. The centerpiece is a fountain captivating visitors day and night. Surrounded by quaint shops and eateries, Fountain Square Park encapsulates the heart of Somerset, offering a warm welcome and a dose of small-town charm in the heart of downtown.
This iconic square dates back to the early 19th century, when it was the bustling center of commerce, serving as a gathering point for locals and travelers alike. Town planners of 1801 saw a need for a distinct town center, an open area for rallies, parades, and other events. Its early uses included a stray livestock pen, a community well, and the county’s first log courthouse. Hotels, that later lined the north and east sides of the square served as headquarters for various commanders from each side during the Civil War. An 1871 fire destroyed the west side, including two banks and the third county courthouse.
In 1908, local businessman R.H. Bartells designed and financed construction of the first fountain. For a while the pool held goldfish, which was a prime attraction for children who came to town. A 1963 project of John Sherman and Lorraine Cooper renovated the aging concrete fountain.
For both residents and visitors, Fountain Square is more than just a place; it’s a testament to the enduring spirit of Somerset, a reminder of the importance of community, and a reflection of its rich history.