Restoration of the George Robert White Memorial Fountain in the Public Garden
The History of the Memorial
The George Robert White Memorial, locally referred to as “The Angel,” is for many residents and visitors a beloved symbol of the Boston Public Garden. Situated in the northwest corner of the Garden, the memorial space is a draw for quiet contemplation and a delightful discovery for park visitors who encounter the graceful and engaging angel figure for the first time.
George Robert White (1847-1922) was a citizen of Boston for most of his life. White earned a fortune in the pharmaceuticals business and made significant contributions to a variety of Boston institutions. Upon his death in 1922, he bequeathed an endowment of over $5 million to the City of Boston to finance “works of public beauty and utility” throughout the City. The fund was named The George Robert White Fund. White’s sole request was to have $50,000 of the funds set aside for the creation of a memorial in his memory. Well-known sculptor, Daniel Chester French, was commissioned to create this memorial in the Garden to the noted Boston philanthropist, which was completed and dedicated in 1924.
The Fountain Today
The fountain was discontinued in the 1980’s due to a number of issues and has been inactive ever since. Recently some neighbors approached the Friends and offered to help recruit other neighbors to raise the funds needed to restore the fountain. In response to this expression of interest, the Friends hired expert consultants to estimate the scope of work needed to bring the fountain back to life.
There are multiple areas of work required for the restoration: plumbing, electrical, construction, and stone basin repair. A team of specialists in each of these fields will be enlisted to participate in this project. It has been estimated that the work required will cost approximately $400,000.
UPDATE: The fountain restoration work began August 15, 2016.
View our album on Facebook for photos of the work.
The Friends’ goal is to restore this fountain and thus reactivate one of the sculptural icons of the Garden and a central feature of the memorial. Once again, a memorial to one of Boston’s most generous past philanthropists, by one of America’s most significant sculptors, will be fully restored for the delight of all who come to visit. To insure the sustainability of the fountain, the Friends will be raising a future maintenance fund of $300,000 to support the ongoing care of the fountain, bringing the entire project total to $700,000.
For More Information
Please contact Mary Halpin at the Friends at (857) 239-8937 or firstname.lastname@example.org
To donate to the White Fountain project via check (made out to FOPG), send to:
Friends of the Public Garden
69 Beacon Street, Boston MA 02108