OK, a free lifetime subscription to the first person who can tell me who Irvin Robinson Manton is. Was. (Disclaimer: That was a merely figure of speech. No free subscription will be forthcoming. The point is that good ol' Irv is not exactly a household name.) If you're anything like me (heaven help you), you could work in downtown Akron for three decades and never even notice Irv's memorial fountain. Although the fountain apparÂently doesn't work anymore, it's not exactly hidden away. It's right at the intersection of South Main and Church streets, across the street and a bit north of the Civic Theatre. The memorial was brought to my attention by Ken Carder, who runs the Civic's box office. â¤½I am curious as to who Mr. Manton was and what contribution he made to Akron that resulted in this now-neglected memorial,â¤ he said via email. Well, if nothing else, Mr. Manton certainly reinforces the adage that fame is fleeting. The Beacon Journal's computerized archives go back to 1985, and Manton appears in exactly two stories, both times merely in a passing reference. The most recent was several months ago in a news note about the Bath Historical Society opening an exhibit called â¤½Downton Bath 1900-1950.â¤ He was identified as the owner of Brookdale Dairy Farm and a plant superintendent for Robinson Clay Products. During the early 1900s, Robinson Clay Products was one of Akron's largest employers, so I guess that made him somewhat of a big shot. But he was so far under the public radar that he doesn't even have a biographical envelope in the Beacon's old, yellowed clip files. Everyone even remotely prominent seems to have had one. Manton also is virtually invisible in Karl Grismer's highly regarded Akron and Summit County, an 834-page tome that blankets Akron's history through the first half of the 20th century. There's nothing worthwhile on Google, either. However, thanks to some great work by Beacon librarian Norma Hill, we were able to figure out why this man has his own fountain. He was popular. Seriously. That appears to have been his main claim to fame. Going year by year through old indexes, Hill uncovered a tiny story about the creation of the fountain. The year: 1933. Headline: â¤½Place Memorial Fount On Main St.â¤ Subhead: â¤½Granite Drinking Shaft Is Erected By Friends Of Late I. R. Manton.â¤ Drinking shaft? The three-paragraph story, on Page 3, said that â¤½Mr. Manton, formerly plant superintendent of the Robinson Clay Products Co., who died last August, was said to have had as many friends as any individual in the city. Besides his former associates at the Akron City Club, men and women in all walks of life contributed to the memorial. ... â¤½During the closing years of his life, 'Irv' Manton spent a great deal of time in the company of his friends at the City Club.â¤ They liked him. They really, really liked him. With apologies to Tennyson, 'Tis it better to have been famous and lost it, or never to have been famous at all? Probably the former. And clearly better than transitioning from famous to infamous. Infamy should have been the fate of the jerks who robbed his widow immediately after he died. We take you to a short story from August 1932: â¤½While preparations were being made at Brookdale Farm on Ghent Road for burial of I. R. Manton last week, thieves entered the well-appointed cottage in the rear of the estate and made off with silverware, kitchen utensils and numerous small articles of furniture.â¤ His widow, referred to in the story only as â¤½Mrs. Manton,â¤ said the intruders broke a lock on a rear window. Her name was Fredericka. Apparently, she wasn't nearly as popular as Irv. Bob Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3580 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He also is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bob.dyer.31.