Meridian Star

December 29, 2013

Historic statue vanishes

The Associated Press
Associated Press

VICKSBURG, Miss. — The Bloom Fountain, donated by Louis Bloom after his death in 1926, is missing its statue of Hebe, the Greek goddess of youth and cupbearer to the gods of Mount Olympus.

City officials tell The Vicksburg Post (http://bit.ly/1g4iabf ) that the statue was taken down to repair a busted water pipe.

The statue of the goddess has sat on top of Bloom Fountain for decades on a small plot of grass adjacent to the Municipal Rose Garden.

City landscape architect Jeff Richardson says water pipe connecting the statue to the fountain was damaged by cold weather, which is why she now sits in her new temporary home — the city welding shop, Richardson said.

Hebe should be returned to her perch atop sometime soon after the New Year, Richardson said.

The fountain was erected in 1927 and is named after Bloom, who left $6,500 in his will for the memorial.

Bloom, born in 1855, was a partner in Baer & Brothers Department Store, one of Vicksburg's leading retailers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The three-story department store employed more than 70 clerks at one period.

Bloom moved to New Orleans before his death and bequeathed money for an "ornamental fountain" to the city in his name.

The fountain was constructed by New Orleans-based Albert Weiblen Marble & Granite Works, who was one of the largest marble and granite companies in the South at the time. The company built other iconic Vicksburg landmarks, such as the Louisiana Monument and Memorial Archway in the Vicksburg National Military Park.

Reports vary on whether the statue is made of bronze, zinc or a combination of materials.