Thursday, May 7, 2009

Gargoyle, Soda Fountain King, Green-Wood Cemetery

John Matthews, who was buried at Green-Wood Cemetery in 1870, invented the soda fountain and popularized carbonated beverages, which earned him the nickname "The Soda Fountain King." According to Find a Grave, his monument was designed by Karl Muller and cost $30,000.

From a fascinating article at American Heritage:

"It is, to be sure, no mean monument, for above a recumbent marble likeness of Matthews rises a granite Gothic canopy and spire to a height of thirty-six feet, richly carved all over with gargoyles, evangelists, expiring Matthews relatives, flora, fauna, and elaborate bas-reliefs representing great moments in the life of the deceased. Designed and partially executed in his own workshop, this imposing potpourri looks very much like one of Matthews’ own “cottage” soda fountains at the height of that eclectic art form. But the benefactor’s true monument is to be found in nearly every drugstore, luncheonette, and department store in America; his handiwork lives on every Main Street."

Photo by MK Metz

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