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Courthouse "Boy With Leaky Boot" - Al Radka to Rescue

Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:37 pm
by Lost Fresno
Not being that old, even I remember walking through Courthouse Park and seeing the "Boy with the Leaky Boot" back when he stood in front of the now demolished Courthouse building. A favorite by all who saw him, he has quite a history. But do you remember that Al Radka played a role in returning his stolen shoe? Enjoy the Fresno Bee article below and learn the story from 1970.

Re: Courthouse "Boy With Leaky Boot" - Al Radka to Rescue

Posted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:13 pm
by Lost Fresno
Found some excellent historical information on Wikipedia. Note the Clovis connection!

The Boy with the Leaking Boot is a statue showing a young boy, with a bare right foot, holding up his right boot and looking at it. The statue is about 4 feet (1.2 m) tall, and in many cases forms a fountain, with water emerging from the toe of the boot. There are at least 24, and reportedly "hundreds"of examples. The origins of the statue are obscure. The boy is reported to be a young Italian newspaper seller who drowned, or an American army drummer-boy who carried water in his leaking boot to help fallen comrades, or a young fire-fighter either using his boot in a bucket chain or emptying his boot after an incident, or possibly none of these. The statue has also been called The Boy with the Leaky Boot. Boy Immigrant and Unfortunate Boot.

However, a connection between the statue and Germany may have more validity. Patrick Patterson of Clovis, California purchased what was purported to be the "original" bronze molds for the Boy with the Boot statue in 1998 from an antique dealer (Lamoine Abbott) of San Angelo, Texas. These molds of the Boy with the Boot statue were sold to the Texas dealer by "Midwest Exchange, Inc." of Shawnee, Wisconsin in 1981. Midwest Exchange Inc. related the molds came from a Mr. Henry Braun, of Cincinnati, Ohio. Mr. Braun was believed to have emigrated from Germany in the 1920s and may have brought these molds with him. Interestingly, it was stated Henry Braun was an "uncle" of Eva Braun.

The bronze molds are probably the "original" molds because the "original" statues were cast in "white metal" (zinc) by a process of "slurry casting"...a process quite different from lost wax casting methods.

One of the statues was erected in Courthouse Park in Fresno, California in 1895. It was a drinking fountain, funded by public subscription organised by Sergeant Nichols of the Salvation Army. Tin cups hung from the statue, and the pipes were cooled by blocks of ice. The statue was purchased from the J. L. Mott Iron Works of New York. The statue was moved, vandalised and repaired on various occasions, recast in bronze in 1947, and again recast in 1995. It is currently in the Fresno County Plaza on Tulare Street.