Asheville Citizen Times
You’ve seen the statue of the young girl drinking at the horsehead fountain on the back side of Pack Square. It is a fetching figure, a statue that has captivated the hearts of Ashevilleans.
The other day a man who had probably seen the stature every day since she was up, walked around the figure, admiring it from all angles, and then, smiling, patted the statue and walked on.
I have heard many people talking about the girl, whose name is “Childhood,” and just for the heck of it, I asked a dozen people which statue they liked best – the girl, the one across the street from her, or the “tree” at the new federal building.
All 12 chose Childhood.
“I think she has captivated the public,” one woman said. “I wish we could have others at various places downtown. Wouldn’t that make it more interesting to go downtown?”
A CHILDHOOD ‘DREAM’: Childhood was the dream of Betty and Perry Bartsch of Asheville. They wanted to do something to help beautify downtown and mark the Urban Trail for their friend, Grace Pless, co-chairwoman of the Urban Trail Committee with Sara Bissette.
“We liked the idea of a little girl,” Betty Bartsch said, “We have two daughters and patterned the statue after them. We thought she would attract a lot of attention at that corner.”
Indeed, she has. It is amazing how much one small figure like that can beautify the east end of Pack Square.
“We got with Jim Barnhill of Greensboro, who sculpted the statue,” Betty said, “and talked over the idea of a young girl with him, and he thought it would be very nice. He has a young son and loves children.
“We are happy with the way she turned out and from all we hear I think a lot of people are enjoying her. We really enjoyed doing it for the city.”
One of the dozen I asked about the statues said she thought the girl was best because, “She has caught the town’s fancy. She’s a charming girl,” the woman said. “I feel as if I know her.”
In case you haven’t studied the statue closely, the girl is drinking from a fountain in the shape of a horse’s head attached to a lamppost.
“Postcards of the early 1900’s showed a lamppost and horsehead fountain on the square,” Grace Pless said. “The girl’s presence commemorates that memory of the square. Also, the trail is about the past and the child is symbolic of the future.”