Many persons feel that every building, both public and private, should be replaced when they reach any considerable age, yet these same folks are apt to spend the savings of years on a trip abroad to gaze at old buildings, fountains, and statuary.
It is a reasonably safe guess that only a small percent of Wood countians have ever noticed the old-world decorations over the side entrances of the county courthouse, or stopped to admire the fine fountain at the 3rd Street entrance.
The distinguished though somewhat stem visaged individual with long, flowing beard and broad high forehead whose likeness surmounts to handsome fountain at the courthouse is a bust of Judge James Monroe Jackson, Sr.
The bronze bust, now a greenish tinge from corrosion, was sculptured by Massey Rhind and is a faithful likeness, according to old pictures of this distinguished judge.
Cavorting around the pedestal which supports the bust are five or six dolphins -- or perhaps they are sea serpents -- from whose mouths streams of water gush forth to fill the saucer shaped bowl beneath them.
As it is filled, this bowl in turn spills over into a much larger basin encircling the base of the structure. This quite large basin was no doubt used as a watering trough for horses and other thirsty animals when the fountain was installed
On either side of the larger basin are drinking fountains for the public which, according to reports, no longer function.
The fine fountain is both a gift and a memorial. Erected in 1901 to the memory of Judge James Monroe Jackson Sr. by his children, it is also a gift to the citizens of Parkersburg for their enjoyment.
According to Williard Jackson of Parkersburg, whose grandfather was a brother of Judge James M. Jackson Sr., in whose memory the fountain was placed, the judge had four children, James M. Jackson, Jr., Mrs. Kate Moffett, Mrs. Mary Rathbone, and a son, John, who died in infancy.
It was this same public spirited old circuit judge who left money m his will to purchase the beautiful fountain which graces the 17th St. entrance to the City Park.
Only a remnant of this once elaborate fountain, which cost $6000 half a century ago, now remains. The whole structure was allowed to topple down a number of years ago from rust and corrosion and only a portion of it could be salvaged.
The decorations over the side entrances of the courthouse are both interesting, symbolical and different. Over the south entrance is the figure of a laughing woman with arms upraised.
Over the entrance facing uptown is the figure of a man with long whiskers and with a head on either side of him somewhat like a child's drawing of the sun.
Surrounding both the man and the woman are ornate carvings in the stone of scrolls, rosettes, and mythical winged animals.
Perhaps some senior citizen knows the name of the artist who did this intricate work when the courthouse was built, but research, so far, has failed to reveal the sculptor's identity.