The writing on the bonnet states:
HOLLY MF'G CO. LOCKPORT N.Y.
The Holly Manufacturing Company was established in May 1859 and "by 1881, over 100 cities in 35 states in the United States were using the Holly System of Water Supply and Fire Protection."
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While the renovation and restoration of the Temple Israel building was complete by 2008, the area outside must meet modern building codes. Therefore, the land grading is different today from how it was in the 1800s. The street is paved and graded per modern specs and concrete sidewalks are all over the town. Part of the restoration was to establish sidewalks, curbs, and modern grading. Another requirement is with the addition of a handicap ramp and railings since the building is a publicly accessible space. Also, various little projects happened in the years after, most notably a garden in the space created from all the concrete work, the fire hydrant still left in place (but eventually disconnected), and some more finish work with the sidewalks.
In late summer 2014, the sidewalk was extended to include the lot next to the synagogue and that is also owned by Temple Israel. This plot of land was also originally owned by the old Congregation Israel and was most likely a buffer from the neighbor as well as some exterior space for the congregants. The sidewalk extension was put in to formalize the connection of the side plot with the road, but also to help against erosion and tire rutting. The extension makes both plots look better! The small hole in the sidewalk is the new water valve for the building put in during the restoration. The old water valve was disconnected but is still out in front of the building. The sidewalk also allowed the final removal of a t-post that protected the water valve!
Regardless of whether or not the original synagogue ever had a garden or planting beds (and likely did not), today as a museum, the landscaping in the front drastically improves the curb appeal! Likewise, the plantings help coincide with other beautification plantings throughout Leadville, especially along Harrison Avenue. The general philosophy about the garden was not to replicate what could have been in a garden in the late 1800s, but rather to beautify the bare dirt areas around the front of the building by today's means.
By necessity, all the weeds needed removal and the compacted dirt broken up and garden soil mixed in. This was done to all of the areas before the first planting. Next, a few stategically placed rocks added some hardscape elements, particularly along the one side of the largest planting area since the grade slopes. For the first year, a mix of annuals and perennials bought from a home center provided instant color and foliage. The perennials would come back each year while new annuals would be planted every year. Starting in 2015, the small plot by the hydrant was planted. The hydrant itself was fully exposed to the bolts and small rocks filled the area to keep it that way. All of the plants had to be watered with a garden hose manually until established.