Waterloo in Monroe County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
The Ziebold Fountain / The Courthouse Cannon
Kaskaskia Cahokia Trail
The Ziebold Fountain
Mary Ziebold, native of Waterloo, went off to study music at a young age, and made a name for herself as a talented opera singer. Through studying music abroad, she maintained an intense love of her home town. Ms. Ziebold presented a vocal concert to raise funds for some type of gift to the citizens of Waterloo. In 1897 she donated a fountain to the City of Waterloo, to symbolize the electricity and water service provide to local residents, as well as to proclaim her love of animals. It was placed in the middle of the intersection of Main and Third Streets in front of the Courthouse, and when horses and dogs trotted the streets of Waterloo, it provide a place for them to drink. The fountain included a large basin on top providing a place for horses to drink, and it also had a smaller reservoir at the base for the satisfaction of dogs.
As horse traffic waned and motor vehicle traffic increased, the fountain was moved from the street to the Courthouse lawn. It was placed over the location of the Courthouse well, so that source could be used to provide circulating water to the fountain.
In 1865, County Clerk Ambrose Hoener heard that the federal government was liquidating assets from the recently-ended Civil War. He thought it would be appropriate for Monroe County to have its own ceremonial cannon. Hoener organized a concert to raise funds to purchase a cannon. The money raised by this event was taken to Jefferson Barracks where a shinny brass cannon was acquired. The Cannon was kept at the Courthouse and for many years was fired to celebrate the passing of New Year's Day, Independence Day and several other prominent holidays. The firing of the cannon was not acceptable to all, especially those who owned buildings around the Courthouse square. It seemed that the concussion of firing the cannon would many times break windows in surrounding buildings.
When County officials prepared for July 4, 1882 Independence Day celebration, the cannon was nowhere to be found. They found the carriage on which the gun was mounted, but the cannon was missing. That holiday was celebrated without the firing of the cannon. All efforts to find the missing cannon were unsuccessful. As the 1916 Centennial of Monroe County approached, planners felt that the cannon would provide the ceremonial "boom" they needed for a successful celebration. County Sheriff John Burkhardt indicated that that he had heard rumors that the cannon may be in the Courthouse well. On the day before the Centennial celebration in January, 1916, the Sheriff ordered the water removed from the well, and the cannon was recovered. With little or no preparation, the cannon was hoisted onto the carriage, loaded and fired. As Monroe County celebrated one hundred years of organization, the cannon was fired every hour on the hour. The results were the same - aggravated neighbors and shattered windows in the buildings around the Courthouse.
As the years passed, the cannon was firing continued as a way to celebrate holidays. On January 1, 1918, the cannon was fired to usher in the new Year, and there was a violent explosion. A local newspaper account of the event..... "The cannon exploded, and its remnants scattered to the four winds of heaven. Some pieces were found at once. last week heavy rain caused a leak in the High School roof. On examination, it was found that a large piece of the cannon weighing perhaps twenty pounds was found to have fallen through the roof, tearing a large hole in it. The school is fully two blocks from were the cannon was fired." Thus ended the short life of the Monroe County Courthouse cannon.
Erected by Monroe County Bicentennial Committee in memory of Patricia Smith 9/24/1953 - 12/24/2020.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Animals • Architecture • Arts, Letters, Music • Government & Politics. A significant historical month for this entry is January 1916.
Location. 38° 20.129′ N, 90° 8.984′ W. Marker is in Waterloo, Illinois, in Monroe County. Marker is on South Main Street just north of 3rd Street, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 100 S Main St, Waterloo IL 62298, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Revolutionary Patriots of Monroe County, Illinois (a few steps from this marker); Monroe County Bicentennial Bandstand (within shouting distance of this marker); Monroe County World War Veteran Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); The Adelsberger House (within shouting distance of this marker); The Küenster Building (within shouting distance of this marker); City Hotel (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named The Küenster Building (within shouting distance of this marker); The Wallhaus Building (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Waterloo.
Credits. This page was last revised on January 7, 2022. It was originally submitted on January 6, 2022, by Thomas Smith of Waterloo, Ill. This page has been viewed 76 times since then. Photo 1. submitted on January 6, 2022, by Thomas Smith of Waterloo, Ill. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.