Boy and the Boot (Rotary 1)
In Maine, United States
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Parking is available at the police station across the street and the park is a lovely place to relax. This should be an easy to find micro but could be buried in winter. The location is groomed park. Wheelchair accessible if able to travel on grass.
The Boy and the Boot cache is the 1st cache in the Houlton Rotary geocache series.
This cache is located at Pierce Park and is a quick grab and go. The statue is only out during the summer months and it spends the winter in the police station across the street (also a good place to park).
In the spring and summer be sure to visit Houlton Farms Dairy just a 10th of a mile east on Military St. for the best ice cream on the planet!
Here is some information regarding this historic statue.
HOULTON’S “BOY AND THE BOOT” STATUE
by Michael Clark
There is hardly a day that goes by that someone doesn’t ask me questions about the “Boy and the Boot” statue. It is located in Pierce Park-- a pretty, little park in Houlton, Maine, where Main and Military Streets come together. It is a park with benches under maple shade trees, low shrubs, and flower beds around the walkway of the fountain. All of this makes the park very attractive and excellent for picture taking during the summer months. It is now estimated that over 10,000 pictures are taken yearly of the Boy. A picture can, also, be taken of the sign telling about the “Boy and the Boot.”
The following information comes from many townspeople, town records, local papers, articles and letters from all over the world that has been collected by Kay Trickey and myself.
In 1914, Mrs. Clara P. Frisbie left the sum of $1,000 to the town of Houlton to be used to beautify Monument Park. In 1916, Mr. Robert Palmer, who was Superintendent of Parks, prepared a spot on the corner of Main Street and Broadway, just below the Cary Library for a new fountain. There is no mention in town records or local papers about the purchase of this new circular fountain with a boy standing on a rock holding a boot high in the air, as water runs out of the boot. The fountain base also provides water for the public and animals--big or small.
You would not think of the statue as having a mysterious background, but the sculptor and national origin are unknown. There are over twenty six known statues throughout the world. They come with different names, such as “The Boy With the Leaking Boot”, “The Immigrant”, and “The Little Fireman”, just to name a few. Some claim that the statue is made of German metal and was shipped to the United States. We have had people come from far and wide to test the metal in the Houlton boy. We now know that he is made of zinc, as I have obtained the history of the J.W. Fiske Iron Works where our fountain was founded. Others claim to come from Belgium, France, and Italy. Questions are asked like, Did it come from Italy because of the legend of the newsboy who drowned there? The statue in Cleethorpes was based on a statue from Sweden. The statue in Sweden was based on a statue from Italy. Another statue that stands in front of a shoe factory in West Germany, has a boy with an apron--no hat, but he looks very much like our boy here in Houlton.
When the statue was purchased in 1916, the total cost for statue and base was $604--a bargain, for sure, as it would cost many thousands of dollars today. The Houlton statue is unique in that it provides water for one and all. The boy stands on a rock in a small pool, which was at one time used to water horses. There are eight fountains for humans and the ground level troughs provide water for small animals. I do want to add that birds use it as a birdbath and crows can be seen drinking from the fountain daily.
If it were not for the many interested Houlton people, the “Boy and the Boot” would not be here today. Years ago, Walter Burlock was in charge of the Parks and Recreation Department. He had the Boy and the base removed from the Community Park Grandstand just prior to it burning to the ground. The Boy has been very lucky over the years. In 1973, the Houlton Garden Club approached me asking if the Rotary Club would provide money for the restoration of the Boy and the fountain. They were happy to be part of the restoration process. At that time, Mr. Bill Kimball was working as a body and fender man at London Motors, owned by Bud London. Mr. Kimball rebuilt the legs, feet, broken shoulder, and broken nose and replaced the missing fingers. This took over a year to complete. Kay Trickey has been one of many who helped bring the Boy back to life with a new paint job--ably assisted by Elsie Adams. In 1985, the bodyshop crew at York Ford took off all the old paint. Roger Graham and Tim Holmes did the work and found that the shirt worn by the Boy was green at one time. Roger repainted him with a hard-finish auto paint, and his mother, Geraldine Graham, gave him his facial paint job and other detail work. In 1990, Janet Gentle spent the winter repainting the Boy with a new life-like look. From 1991 to 2001, I have repainted the base. From 1998 to 2001, I have been repainting the Boy himself. I donated a sign that tells the story of the Boy. Over the years, the Houlton Rotary Club has donated money to help defray the cost of materials. Sherwin Williams and the Almon H. Fogg Co. have donated paint that was used. The members of the Houlton Fire Department have all worked very hard to make the restoration complete. The Houlton Water Company installed a light for nighttime security and now donates the cost of the water and light for the fountain. The Parks and Recreation Department have kept Pierce Park looking very nice during the summer months. The Houlton Garden Club plants new flowers around the fountain base each year. In 1992, the Public Works Department installed a new brick and hot-topped sidewalk around the base. Granite stones were donated by Ward Log Homes for the flower beds. All of this helps make the statue more attractive and photographic. In the fall of 2003, the Boy was removed from Pierce Park by Bob Aucoin and his sons, Ryan and Robbie, of Main Street Auto Body. During the winter, Robbie sandblasted the Boy down to the metal removing all the old layers of paint. In the spring of 2004, Kay Trickey and I gave the Boy a new paint job making him look the best he has looked in a long time. The volunteers from the Fire Department fixed the fountain base and have that in fine working order. The Boy was placed back in the fountain and once again stands proud for all of Houlton and its visitors to enjoy. People, animals, birds, etc., coming into Houlton can appreciate the friendly, outward sign when they enjoy a cool drink of water on a hot summer day and relax in the park.
Many clubs and businesses in Houlton have items for sale that represent the Boy. A new item is a vinyl seal with a picture of the statue. All monies go to Dollars for Scholars. Esther Faulkner, our local historical artist has done many beautiful water paintings of the “Boy”, which are for sale. The Cary Library has the largest collection of Mrs. Faulkner’s paintings of the Boy on display. The Houlton Rotary Club and the Houlton Regional Hospital have worked together to establish the “Boy and the Boot” Endowment Fund. An exact pewter replica of the Boy is given to those individuals, groups or companies who donate $1000 to the Endowment Fund.
If you have information or questions about the Houlton statue, please contact me at P.O. Box 745, Houlton, ME 04730.
Michael A. Clark
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Last Updated: on 7/1/2014 11:12:20 AM Pacific Daylight Time (6:12 PM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum