Memorial Fountain to Influenza Nurses, Raleigh
The monument, which stood approximately ten feet high in the center, was marble with a bronze tablet. Two small walls extend bilaterally from the center, square column, and both sides supported a drinking fountain. The center column held a bronze plaque and there was an inscription from Tennyson’s poem “Tiresias” incised into the marble.
It was erected to honor the heroism of volunteer nurses who served during the influenza epidemic of 1918-1919. A fountain was chosen by the committee because they felt “no idle and lifeless statue or tablet” was appropriate. It was felt something of permanent use and service better represented the sacrifice of these women. It was removed in 1968 during construction of the current Wake County courthouse. What happened to it is unknown.
Plaque: TO THE VOLUNTEER NURSES / ELIZA RIDDICK AND LUCY PAGE / WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES / AND OUR OTHER NOBLE WOMEN / WHO RISKED THEIR LIVES / IN MINISTRY TO THE VICTIMS OF INFLUENZA / RALEIGH AND CAMP POLK, 1918. / “THEIR EXAMPLES REACH A HAND FAR / THROUGH ALL YEARS, AND EVERYWHERE THEY MEET, AND KINDLE GENEROUS PURPOSE AND THE / STRENGTH TO MOLD INTO ACTION / PURE AS THEIRS.
Fountain: THEIR EXAMPLES REACH A HAND / FAR THRO’ ALL YEARS, AND EVERYWHERE THEY MEET / AND KINDLE GENEROUS PURPOSE, AND THE STRENGHT / TO MOULD IT INTO ACTION AS PURE AS THIERS
May 14, 1922
35.776300 , -78.642010 View in Geobrowse
Jane, Ladye. “The “Brutal” Wake County Courthouse,” New Raleigh, http://www.newraleigh.com, January 15, 2010, (accessed December 8, 2015) Link
“Honor Memory of "Flu" Nurses,” News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), April 30, 1922, 2
“Memorial to Volunteer Nurses Presented Today,” News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), May 14, 1922, 1,5
“Tribute to Heroic Women Who Saved the Community,” News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), May 15, 1922, 1,7
“Unveil Tribute to Heroic Women,” News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), April 4, 1922, 2
“Wake County Court House, Raleigh, N.C.” in Durwood Barbour Collection of North Carolina Postcards (PO77), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Link
Nurses Memorial Committee with funding by local subscription, City of Raleigh and Wake County
Two memorials to influenza nurses were dedicated during services held at Raleigh’s City
Auditorium on May 14, 1922. No services were held at the water fountain or the bronze plaque to nurses who
served at State College (NCSU) which had been placed in Pullen Hall. Both memorials were
uncovered during the dedication service for viewing afterwards.
Dr. Clarence Poe presided over the memorial service which included short speeches by Josephus Daniels, Dr. Delia Dixon Carrol, Professor Charles M. Meek and Dr. W.L. Poteat. During his comments, Dr. Poteat said that he was “glad that we have come again to a period of memorials. It used to be that Rome had two populations – the men of the flesh, and its men in marble. Marble goes far toward making the human population, for when we lose interest in the marble past we lose our capacity to reproduce it.” Music was provided by the Christ Church Choir and the Kiwanis Quartet
Memorial drinking fountains were common during the early part of the 20th century. This one, as others built during that segregated time, provided two drinking spouts, one for whites and one for non-whites. Surviving examples typically have the non-white spigot removed or both spigots removed.
The memorial was located at 316 Fayetteville Street, Raleigh, in front of the courthouse.
The memorial stood to the left of the entrance to the courthouse, under shady mature trees.