Lake County Past spotlight: Rain babies
The cast iron pair, a boy and a girl huddled together under an umbrella, charmed visitors to the Thomas Owens Park for nearly 45 years. But that was their second home. Owens purchased the fountain in 1885 for the lawn of his own home, which still stands, third from the park, on Second Avenue.
It was at Owen’s death in 1940 that the statue was moved to the park and surrounded with flowers. The youngsters didn’t fare so well there, though. Vandals repeatedly destroyed their umbrella and interfered with the workings of the fountain mechanism.
About three years ago, the city gave up, and put the “rain babies” into storage at the city garage.
However, Roger Pegelow, a museum board member, thought the tykes were wasted there. With the help of John “Red” Olsvik and Ray Widen, he completely restored it to its natural beauty. The twins were given a gold coat of paint, the self-contained pumping system was repaired, and the umbrella under which they perpetually huddle was mended once again.
Now the statue stands in front of the Three Spot engine, once used to lay rails for the beginning of the Duluth and Iron Range railroad in 1883. The first engineer on that train was Owens, so the twins have once again followed their father down the historical trail.