George Coote (1842-1908), a native of England, emigrated directly to Corvallis in 1877, where he established himself as a farmer. In 1888 Coote accepted a position within Oregon Agricultural College's Department of Horticulture - eventually becoming its chair - which he maintained until months before his death in November 1908. During his tenure, Coote was responsible for the college's grounds and greenhouses, and also published several Extension Service Bulletin articles on fruits, flowers, vegetables and nuts.
The Lady of the Fountain was built in 1903 as a gift from the Class of 1902. It was located on lower campus approximately where Madison Avenue is today, just to the west of Ninth Street. Often stolen as a prank by University of Oregon students, the statue was demolished by students in 1923.