The park legacy of Frank Faville

Published 10:00 am Saturday, June 18, 2011

This fountain-statue was originally placed in Faville Park, a triangular plot of land at the corner of Lakeview Boulevard and Grace Street, about eight decades ago. This photo was originally in black and white and was colorized by Tribune Creative Director Stacey Bahr. -- Photos courtesy Freeborn County Historical Museum

There’s no mystery regarding the origin of the name for Albert Lea’s Faville Park. Its name honors former city mayor and local benefactor, Frank Shaw Faville. Yet, for many years there were several questions regarding a small fountain-statue once located in this park and where it is now.

The fountain-statue once located in Faville Park is now in front of the Freeborn County Historical Museum on Bridge Avenue, next to the entry to the Freeborn County Fairgrounds. -- Ed Shannon/Albert Lea Tribune

A short news report in the May 6, 1938, issue of the Tribune helped to stress the mystery regarding this small statue. It said, “The fountain, given to the city anonymously, and placed in Faville Park at the intersection of Grace Street and Lakeview Boulevard has been put in place and is in operation.

“A large basin is centered by the figures of two small children, the little boy with rolled-up breeches and a little girl with her arm around the boy, both under an umbrella, over which water plays continuously. The figures and umbrella are white. Rocks have been set into the edge of the basin at intervals.”

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However, the obituary for Faville in the Jan. 14, 1947, issue reported, “He was the man who provided the small triangular park at the corner of Lakeview Boulevard and Grace Street, furnished it with a fountain-statue portraying two little children under a huge umbrella from which ‘rain’ constantly dripped throughout the hot summer months — much to the delight of any passing children.”

Some folks might have thought Faville donated the odd triangular plot of land to the city because it was part of his homesite. In reality, he lived across the street at 401 Lakeview Blvd.

Just when this small fountain-statue was removed from its original park site could still be a mystery. Why it was removed was based on several reasons. One was a concern that it could be vandalized. Another was based on it possibly being struck by a vehicle going straight ahead on Lakeview Boulevard instead of following the curve in the street near the statue’s original site.

All that’s left as a reminder of the era when there was a fountain-statue in Albert Lea’s Faville Park is its circular base. -- Ed Shannon/Albert Lea Tribune

Today, the outline of a circular basin for the statue and its pond of water is still part of Faville Park. And in the center is a concrete base with a stub of a pipe that once supplied water for the fountain feature.

This statue was placed in storage for a few years after removal, then taken to the Freeborn County Historical Museum about 1972, according to notes made by the late Bidney Bergie.

The statue was placed in the village part of the museum and for special occasions a hose was used to provide water to revive the fountain aspect of moisture falling off the umbrella and down past the small boy and girl. Now the statue is in front of the entry to the museum and facing Bridge Avenue.

Frank Faville (1868-1947) was the local manager of E.F. Stacy & Sons Fruit Co. He represented the 1st Ward on the City Council from 1915 to 1919, alderman-at-large from 1919 to 1921 and the city’s mayor from 1921 to 1927. Faville also served on the park board for several years and this may have been a factor for him making the decision to donate the park site and fountain-statue to the people of Albert Lea.