Wessel has a knack for spotting all kinds of monuments, one of the many, many, many things that fascinates him. I usually can take ’em or leave ’em, but this one really amused me. He spied it in Clearwater, Fla., during one of our bike rides along the Pinellas Trail, a 45-mile-long paved rail-trail from St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs. Usually firefighting monuments contain life-size statues of firefighters hauling giant hoses. But this dedication to Clearwater firefighters is more basic — it’s a fire hydrant. My first thought was why have a statue of a hydrant when you can see actual hydrants everywhere you look? But then it kind of grew on me.
Then when I read more about it in a government newsletter I found online, I was really charmed. The “sculpture” was initiated by a couple women in human resources at the Clearwater Fire & Rescue Department. The “artists” were city employees, i.e. it was a DIY effort. It’s an actual hydrant on a concrete base that was primed with a gloss black base coat then stippled with gray, white and silver paint to mimic granite stone. The base was done with the same faux finish. I had no idea it was a fake. It’s a lovely tribute to a very noble profession.
Apparently, the fire department dedicated the monument in 2000. Of course the obvious question is, have any dogs dedicated it as well? Now that would be a photo op!