GEORGE ROBERT WHITE MEMORIAL FOUNTAIN RESTORATION
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 which was completed and dedicated in 1924.
The fountain ceased to flow in the 1980’s due to a number of issues and remained inactive until neighbors approached the Friends and offered to help recruit other neighbors to raise the funds needed to restore the fountain. In response, the Friends hired expert consultants to estimate the scope of work needed to bring the fountain back to life.
There were multiple areas of work required: plumbing, electrical, construction, and stone basin repair. A team of specialists in each of these fields was enlisted to participate. The work was estimated to cost approximately $400,000. To ensure the sustainability of the fountain, the Friends created a $300,000 maintenance fund to support the ongoing care of the fountain, bringing the entire project total to $700,000.
THE FOUNTAIN TODAY
The fountain restoration work began August 15, 2016 and was successfully completed in November 2016. In partnership with the Parks Department, the basin of the fountain was restored with a historically accurate pebble surface, and plumbing elements were replaced so water in the fountain will recirculate as required by current state plumbing code. The water once again flows from the ram’s head cornucopias, as French designed, and The Angel can cast her bread upon actual waters again.
The transformation also included the installation of a new accessible pathway, benches, stair railings, and landscape plantings, which were all completed in 2017. View our album on Facebook for photos of the work.
Project Cost: $750,000