On Monday, July 16th, 2018, the Boston Preservation Alliance announced that the Friends of the Public Garden has received their 2018 Preservation Achievement Award for the restoration of the George Robert White Memorial Fountain.
The Alliance recognizes the Friends for their commitment and dedication to Boston’s historic character at the highest level. The White Memorial Fountain restoration is one of only five in all of Boston to receive this honor, in this 40th anniversary year of the Alliance. Dedicated in 1924 to venerated Boston philanthropist George Robert White, the beloved memorial was completed by well-known sculptor Daniel Chester French.
In August 2015, the Friends began restoration of the Memorial. Many aspects of the fountain were in dire need of repair, including plumbing, electrical, and general construction such as the fountains stone basin. The fountain had been discontinued in the 1980’s due to a host of issues, and up until the Friends began restoration, laid dormant in the Public Garden for over 30 years. Community interest in bringing the fountain back to working conditions began to grow, and the Friends were approached by neighbors dedicated to raise funds to see a restoration project through.
The basin of the fountain was restored with a historically accurate pebble surface, plumbing elements were replaced so water in the fountain will recirculate as required by current state plumbing code, and now the water once again flows from French’s ram’s head cornucopias. The Angel can now cast her bread upon actual waters once again. In addition, the transformation included the completion of a new accessible pathway, benches, stair railings, and landscape plantings, which were all completed in the spring and summer of 2017.