Light Dispelling Darkness Fountain

Essex, NJ

The Light Dispelling Darkness Fountain was created by ceramic artist Wayland Gregory under the WPA. A series of brightly colored ceramic figural groups depicting six evils of the world, the four horsemen of the Apocalypse; War, Famine, Pestilence, Death, plus Materialism and Greed, are arrayed on flying concrete buttresses around a central pier. The pier was to have cascading water displays over a Soviet Realist style bas-relief of workers in cast stone supporting a large ceramic globe of the Earth. The fountain is contained within a concrete pool that was supposed to have mist and water sprayers.

The fountain is reported never to have been fully operational. The ceramic figural groups and globe were all severely deteriorated from spalling of most glazed surfaces, extensive cracking from freeze/thaw expansion of water trapped within the poorly made clay and losses from vandalism. The globe was structurally unsound. Cracks and spalls were noted on much of the cast stone and concrete pool.

We surveyed, documented, researched and prepared restoration plans for this work. The scope included mechanical and structural engineering studies, historic research, and survey of existing conditions. Base line drawings of the fountain pool and decorative features were developed. A series of treatment recommendations and a cost estimate was prepared. The city used the assessment as a basis for implementing the work.