Friday, March 7, 2014

The Spirit of Johnson City: The Lady of the Fountain

In the Spring of 2012 I began designing the cocktail program I now manage for The Main Street Pizza Company. Our restaurant is located in the heart of downtown Johnson City. We are proud to be a part of the blossoming restoration of the downtown community and proud of our town's heritage. As we are The "Main Street" Pizza Company, many of our gourmet pies are named after local street names. The Pine Street Pesto. The Watauga White. The Buffalo Street Spicy Pie. The Holston Avenue Hawaiian. You get the idea.

In a desire to continue our restaurant's tradition of honoring the legacy of our small town, our first cocktail menu included a list of 6 house cocktails we call "The Spirit of Johnson City."

In celebration of the two year anniversary of The Main Street Pizza Company's cocktail program, we are bringing back our legacy cocktails. Each of these drinks has its own story. Over the next few weeks I'll be doing a series on these drinks here. First off? The Lady of the Fountain.

Recently restored, the Lady of the Fountain holds court at Fountain Square.
Photo Credit: Ted Overbay, WJHL

Lady of the Fountain, ca 1912
Most of Johnson City's major development happened in the early 1900's. The area's industries prospered due to the three major railways that traveled through town. Johnson City was a common thoroughfare and respite point for travelers and cargo traveling between the North and the South. In the heart of Johnson City, near the depot stations, lay Fountain Square, overseen by the Lady of the Fountain.

The Lady of the Fountain's restoration
was completed in September 2013
Photo Credit: Tony Duncan, Johnson City Press

"The Lady, an imposing seven-foot zinc statue, originally stood barefooted on a pedestal in the center of a three-foot circular concrete multi-spigot water fountain, facing southeast toward the Unaka National Bank building on Main Street. THrough the years, many weary railway traveler has navigated through the city's central business district, pausing just long enough to imbibe from the cool refreshing fountain. Several small pans situated around the base collected runoff water, further supplying water for horses and small animals." -via Johnson's Depot

While the original Lady of the Fountain is kept in the city's archives, a bronze replica of the Lady was produced in 2011 and in September 2013 the patroness of Fountain Square was fully restored to her rightful place.

In honor of our lady, we ask you to raise your glasses!

The Lady of the Fountain

1 oz house-made Limoncello
.5 oz Galliano
Top with Prosecco
Garnish with a long lemon twist

The Lady of the Fountain, TMSPC, 2014




  1. I recently started following Serious Eats cocktail coverage. In Feb they had a list of blogs to follow and your's is at the very top! You might already know all of that. I was mostly excited because I am from JC and it is great to know that there will be exciting cocktails available next time I visit!

    Keep up the good work!

    1. Thank you! Stop by and say hello the next time you're in town!