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Tompkins Square Temperance Fountain

In 1888, the Lower East Side’s Moderation Society was very pleased to make the acquaintance of the deep-pocketed Dr. Henry Cogswell of San Francisco.

The Moderation Society had been formed in 1877 to address the health conditions plaguing this particularly dirty, crowded segment of New York City. Top of mind for these reformers was the prohibition of alcohol, which they considered top of list in troublemaking. Temperance groups like the Moderation Society and the National Women’s Christian Temperance Union (which is still active today) blamed alcohol for the bulk of society’s woes, including crime, violence, and disease.

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