9 thoughts on “Washington Park, 1955

  1. From wiki ” The Chiming Fountain, also known as Cupid’s Fountain,[1] the John Staehli Fountain, Portland’s City Park Fountain and Washington Park Fountain,[2][3] is an outdoor cast iron fountain and sculpture built in 1891 by John “Hans” Staehli. It is installed in Washington Park in Portland, Oregon, United States. The fountain’s name derives from the sound made when water drips from the upper basin. Staehli designed the fountain to serve as a watering trough for horses pulling carriages into the park. Based on a Renaissance fountain, it was originally painted white and included a statuette of a boy, possibly depicting Cupid, though the figure was damaged and permanently removed from the sculpture before or during the 1940s.”

  2. In 1885, there was some thought of locating a public fountain at the park, to be built with funds provided by S.G. Skidmore. “Of the many places suggested, none, we believe, would be as satisfactory as the city park. There is no convenient location in the business part of town and the plaza blocks are likely to be built over. By all means let the fountain be set up in the park where it can always remain undisturbed.” — Oregonian, August 6, 1885, p. 5 The Skidmore Fountain ended up being built at SW 1st and Ankeny, and dedicated in 1888.

    Although the Skidmore Fountain didn’t end up in City Park (the former name of Washington Park), there were soon proposals for a fountain of some sort there. On May 12 of the same year (p. 3) the paper proposed that “There is one thing which should be attended to as soon as possible, which is securing an adequate water supply for the park…With the pressure to be obtained from 150 feet fall a magnificent fountain could be kept flowing at any point in the park, and the water flowing from the fountain would furnish a fish pond.”

    Six years later, the paper reported that the city council authorized “the expenditure of a sum not to exceed $500 to purchase a fountain to be placed at the entrance of the City park…” February 5, 1891, p. 8

    The next year, a long article titled “THE CITY PARK: A Beautiful Spot — Recent Improvements– the Animals” was printed on page 3 of the June 14, 1892 Oregonian. It went on to paint a lovely picture of activity in the park, including this: “Sunday afternoons there were a great many persons, old and young, out there strolling along the walks admiring the fine views of the city and distant mountains, or watching the antics of the boars, monkeys and other animals, or lingering around the little lake to watch the graceful movements of the swan, seal and ducks….The handsome fountain has been put up in the plat where the croquet ground used to be, and it will be playing in about two weeks.”

    In 1893, a major article titled “WORK AT THE PARK: A Busy Winter of Preparation — The Proposed Site for the Water Reservoir is the Gem of the Park for Artistic Purposes” After several enthusiastic paragraphs about the status of the park, “The park will use more water than ever before. There will be the usual supply for the ponds and falls at the north entrance, the big fountain at the floral banks, and the sprinkling everywhere. Then there is to be a fountain in the front yard of the park-keeper’s lodge, and a big, noisy waterfall will be put in over the rocky declivity just above the little upper seal-pond basin.” The reporter goes on to describe the various animals and plants in the park, and has illustrated his article with drawings and a map. — Oregonian, April 16, 1893, p. 8

  3. I think that this photo was taken during a pleasant sunny weekday (has a Friday feel about it) because I don’t see any couples, just men; probably on lunch breaks. One at the left his bird watching and the guy sitting on the park bench in the shade look like an auto mechanic. Perhaps the mechanic worked at the Richfield service station that was a short walk or drive away, at W. Burnside and SW Vista Ave.

    Parking is no longer allowed here, and it looks like the Ford is actually up on the grass.

  4. The fountain was ordered from a catalog. Unfortunately I’ve lost the ID of the file at the Archives where I saw it. The figure on top was apparently damaged during an ice storm.
    Unfortunately, the “fine views of the city” have been overgrown to a great extent. As John Olmstead said in his report on developing city parks, the view is more important than the trees.

Comments are closed.