Our Mission

The restoration and preservation of the Erskine Memorial Fountain and the surrounding site for the enjoyment and pleasure of Atlanta's citizens and visitors.

History

The Erskine Fountain is a memorial to Judge John Erskine, gifted to the city of Atlanta in 1896 by his daughter, Ruby Ward. It was originally located at the intersection of Peachtree and West Peachtree Streets. Adorned with bronze cups attached with chain, the fountain was not only a work of public art, but also a source of drinking water.

Judge John Erskine served on the Federal District Court of Georgia during the Reconstruction period following the Civil War. He is remembered as a defender of individual property rights and a moderating voice at a time of acrimony between North and South.

Ward commissioned John Massey Rhind to create the fountain, a prominent memorial designer who was already well known for the set of bronze doors he designed for Trinity Church in Manhattan, as well as numerous public monuments around the US and Canada.

Sadly, the fountain was not maintained, and when the roads were regraded a few years after its installation, it was left sitting 4 feet above the sidewalk level. In 1912 it was relocated to Cherokee Avenue at Ormond Street in Grant Park. It has been forgotten and neglected for the last 100 years. Pieces have been stolen and no one can recall a time when it operated.

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Project Goals


The project goal is to restore the Erskine Memorial Fountain and the surrounding site elements to create a public place for all to enjoy. A plan and budget is currently being developed so that restoration can be done in phases, as funds become available. Specific goals include:

1

Restore the metal fountain, recast missing pieces, and develop a treatment plan to prevent further corrosion. Recreate the original water feature, ideally using reclaimed water.


2

Clean and treat the marble bench to prevent further erosion.


3

Address the marble foundation to prevent further settling and cracking.


4

Restore the granite walls (formerly an entrance to Grant Park), replace missing elements, repair the mortar, and repair the concrete terraces.


5

Collaborate with the Zoo to create a plan to restore access to the Lake Abana Overlook, which is currently fenced off, overgrown, and unmaintained. The new plan must include protections that ensure zoo security.


6

Develop a plan for site landscaping, hardscaping, and lighting.


7

Develop a fundraising plan that includes an endowment to ensure the fountain is maintained.

News & Events


March 20, 2016

Thanks so much to everyone who attended our first workday. Friends and neighbors from Grant Park, Ormewood Park, Brookhaven, and even McDonough came to help clear the historic Lake Abana overlook behind the fountain, which is all that remains of the lake that used to exist where Zoo Atlanta now resides.

For some it was about giving back to the neighborhood, while for others it was a chance to meet like-minded folks. Some were there to rediscover a place from their youth that has been hidden away by years of neglect and apathy. No matter the reason, the interest, enthusiasm, and hard work shown by all proves what General James Doolittle once said; “There's nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer.”

We finished the day by enjoying a well-deserved brew at Eventide Brewing.The Erskine Fountain Fund would like to especially thank the awesome folks from Eventide who spent all day clearing the site with us, and then hosted the after-party at their facility.


February 24, 2016

We've got a few updates to share.

First we commissioned a site survey, which was a required first step in developing a master plan. You can download a copy of that survey here. Second, we've reached an agreement with Zoo Atlanta regarding the fence that presently prevents access to the historic Lake Abana Overlook. Zoo officials have agreed to allow us to move the fence but at this time we don't have the funds required to do so in a way that enhances the aesthetic appeal of the site while maintaining the necessary security requirements for perimeter fencing. So, in the meantime we decided to install a gate in order to have access during special events. Presently the overlook is overgrown and unusable so we're having a workday on March 19th to clean it up. There will be an after-party at Eventide Brewing's tasting room. Check our Facebook page for details.


November 2, 2015

It’s been awhile since we last provided an update and wanted to let you know what’s been going on with the fountain. Over the last six months we’ve been working to put together a volunteer team with the expertise necessary to get this project underway. We’re very happy to have Boyd Koons of the Atlanta Preservation Center on our board as he brings notable experience in the area of historic preservation to bear on this project. We are also happy to announce that Spencer Tunnell of Tunnell & Tunnell Landscape Architects is working to develop a site design and conceptual rendering that will serve as a guide to the overall project plan development.

Our volunteer board has also been busy meeting with Zoo Atlanta officials to discuss the possibility of relocating the fence that currently cuts off access to the historic Lake Abana overlook. The discussions are very positive and we have high hopes that this overlook will be restored to create a more expansive and inviting area as part of the project scope.

And last but not least, the fountain. We have budgetary pricing from Cherrylion Sculpture Studios for what it will cost to clean up and treat the fountain including making a cast of the missing sea creature at the base. We aim to have the missing top portion of the fountain recast but are in desperate need of good photographs in order to reproduce it. If anyone has such photos and is willing to share them, please contact us at [email protected].

We’re optimistic that we’ll soon be able to pull the trigger on putting some of the money raised in April toward the site resulting in visible improvements for all to enjoy. As we make progress, we’ll continue to provide updates.


April 18, 2015

The Biscuits and Martinis Mixer was held at the Grant Mansion, where 140 people enjoyed a great evening of food, drinks, and socializing while showing their support for rescuing one of Atlanta's oldest works of public art. We received generous support from Ria's Bluebird, Stone Soup Kitchen, Octane, DJ Spicebomb, and the Atlanta Preservation Center, who hosted the event. A host of area businesses contributed goods and services for the silent auction, which proved a great success. The event raised $13,788, and was a remarkable first step in the project, proving that "apathy has an enemy". The funds will be used to obtain an analysis of the fountain's condition, development of restoration proposals and budgets, and applied toward implementation of the restoration.


The Erskine Fountain Fund was formed by a group of concerned neighbors who decided to take action to restore the Erskine Memorial Fountain. The group includes representatives from the Grant Park Conservancy, Grant Park Neighborhood Association, The Atlanta Preservation Center, and residents of the Grant Park Neighborhood.

Get Involved

We need assistance with the following:


Get in touch with us at:
[email protected]

Support the fund: