The Boy And His Leaking Boot

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The Boy with the Leaking Boot is a recurring theme of statues that appear throughout the United States. The life-sized statue, often about 4 feet tall, depicts a young boy with a bare right foot, holding up and inspecting the leaks on his right boot. The statue isn’t complete with an actual leaky boot, hence the statue is almost always a fountain with water emerging from numerous holes on the toe of the boot. There are at least 25 documented examples, and probably hundreds more. Yet, nobody knows who the boy is, and why does he hold aloft his leaking boot.

Some believed that the boy was a real Italian newspaper seller who drowned. Others said he was a Civil War drummer boy who brought water to wounded men in his leaky boot. Still others thought he was a brave little fireman who used his boot in a bucket brigade when there weren't enough buckets to go around.

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An old postcard shows the Boy and the Boot, in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

The original statue was created at J.L. Mott Iron Works in New York and copies of it were offered for sale through the company catalog, starting in 1875. Its original name was "The Unfortunate Boot". Over the years, others began making copies of it and soon the statue was seen all over from California to Ohio, from Montana to Louisiana. The statue is also reported to exist outside the U.S., in Canada, and in several European countries. 

The statue is always the same: right arm aloft, left hand in pocket, old-fashioned cap on head, pants held up by a single suspender. The position of the boot varies. The front of the Boy is sometimes completely stained from whatever impurities infuse the local water. The statues were originally made of pewter, and most have required major maintenance including colorful paint jobs over the years. Some have been completely replaced by copies made of tougher metal or fiberglass.

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Original historic print on the J. L. Mott Iron Works 1925's fountain's Catalog used by Santa Clara council (Cuba) when they selected the fountain for the city's main square. Photo credit

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This statue is located in front of the Stevens Point Fire Department in Wisconsin. Photo credit

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The statue in Cleethorpes, England. Photo credit

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The state in Houlton, Maine. Photo credit 

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The statue in Wallingford, Vermont, USA. Photo credit

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The statue in Leo Mol Sculpture Garden, in Winnipeg, Canada. Photo credit

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In Sandusky, Ohio. Photo credit

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The fountain has become the official symbol of the lakeside city of Sandusky, Ohio. Photo credit

Sources: Roadside America / Wikipedia

Also see:

little-mermaid pissing-statues-brussels

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