Erected in 1899, the Corning Fountain was presented by John J. Corning as a tribute to his father, John B. Corning, a Hartford businessman who operated a grist mill on the site. The first Corning descendant arrived in Hartford in 1760 and built a home on the present site of Aetna’s headquarters. Three generations of the family served as deacons in Hartford churches.
Designed by James Massey Rhind of New York, the sculpture uses a Native American theme, rather than a classical one, which would have been more typical of the period. The monument is made of marble and stone, 30 feet tall, with the figure of a stag (or “Hart” for Hartford) surrounded by Saukiog Indians, the city’s first inhabitants. Mr. Rhind was one of the most famous sculptors of his time. Locally, he created the Colt Memorial at the entrance of Colt Park for Mrs. Samuel Colt.
Photo by George A. Chien