Water has long played an important part in the history of Ontario. Before development of the Ontario Colony lands, water had to be found and brought to Ontario. To transmit the water to Ontario, George Chaffey had miles of cement pipe laid, and later the San Antonio Water Company drove a tunnel into the head of a canyon to tap the underground flow, then an innovation in the field.
Another innovation in the settlement of Ontario was the provision whereby purchasers of land automatically received shares in the water company, thereby ensuring that a share of water proportional to their acreage would be piped to their land. This eliminated many problems that settlers faced elsewhere where land rights and water rights were kept separate.
Chaffey also helped create the image that Ontario had an ample water supply. To do this, he and his brother had a shallow basin installed in front of the train depot. It is even told that the brothers hired a man to turn on the fountain when a train passed through or stopped at the station.
In 1886, Charles Frankish designed a second larger fountain to be placed in the parkway behind the Chaffey fountain. The fountain now stands in front of the Ontario Museum of History and Art at 225 South Euclid Avenue. Through the years, the fountain has been a symbol of prosperity and blessing and is regarded by old time residents as the City’s unique and proudest historical landmark.