EAST CANTON - A water fountain, which horses drank from in the late 1800s when it stood in the Canton town square, has been returned to the community.

Earlier this year, the half-ton cast iron fountain was moved to the front yard of the Manley-Bohlayer Farm in East Canton, where it has been installed permanently, said Roger Tracey, a member of the board of directors of the Rekindle the Spirit Inc.

The fountain was donated back to the Canton community by the Bob and Mildred Slingerland family, said Diane Barrett, president of Rekindle the Spirit Inc., which owns the farm.

"It's a very important piece of Canton history," Tracey said.

A dedication ceremony was held for the water fountain on Sunday, during the Pennsylvania Apple 'n Cheese Festival.

From the early 1950s until this year, the fountain was located on the Slingerland Family Century Farm along state Route 14, south of Troy. according to members of the Slingerland family.

"The Slingerland family's wish was that the fountain be returned to Canton to a location where the public will be able to view it and enjoy it," states written information from Rekindle the Spirit.

The fountain was in the Canton town square in 1893, and may have been in the square earlier than that, Barrett said.

It remained in the square until cars became popular, Tracey said.

The fountain was removed from the square around 1936, he said.

Mildred Slingerland, who lived on the Slingerland family farm, had used the fountain as an urn for flowers, her son, State College resident Rudy Slingerland, said at the dedication ceremony.

Mildred Slingerland's late husband, Bob Slingerland, was a cattle dealer who had found the fountain in the weeds on a farm "someplace in the area" and had arranged to have it brought back to the Slingerland family farm, according to Rudy Slingerland.

Bob Slingerland and his wife had an affinity for horses, and he knew it had been used as a watering trough for horses, his granddaughter, Jody Place of Towanda said, explaining why he had acquired the fountain.

The fountain has been refurbished by Lloyd Hite of the Canton area.

A plaque will be installed at the fountain's new location describing its history and thanking the Slingerland family for the donation.

James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or email: jloewenstein@thedailyreview.com.