The Ella Albers Fountain
It was 1890 when grieving widower Andrew Jackson ”A.J." Albers dedicated Gray Cemetery's towering fountain in the memory of his young wife Ella.
The cast iron and zinc Ella Albers Memorial Fountain was placed on the cemetery's central hilltop circle not far from its main Broadway entrance. The large, two-tiered fountain was meant to be a landmark in the 40-year-old graveyard.
A common style for the time, the fountain would have been admired by people who came to mourn their dead and those who visited the park-like grounds for walks. Three slightly larger than life statues of women wearing classic Grecian gowns adorned the memorial. Water, a soothing symbol of healing, flowed from the fountain's top into a pool surrounded by a marble circle.
Eventually the fountain fell into disrepair. Its Victorian plumbing likely rusted. Albers' descendants and cemetery officials say its metal was donated to a World War II scrap drive.
Over the decades, the vanished fountain became somewhat of a cemetery legend. All that remained was its low, circular marble surround, a few grainy black-and-white photos and some small pieces saved by family members.
Now, 128 years after the original's dedication and decades after it was removed, the 17-foot-tall Ella Albers Memorial Fountain has been recreated.
"It is just fabulous," said Russell Kuhlman, president of the cemetery board.
Knoxville News Sentinel (Sept. 14, 2018)