I’m always on the lookout for unusual and exquisite pieces to decorate my homes.
This summer, I received word about two large fountains that were in need of a permanent residence. These fountains were actually the only two left of five, originally designed and produced as part of a United States Bicentennial celebration for Independence National Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Intrigued by the story, I scheduled a visit to see the fountains during a business trip in the area - and I loved them.
As the story goes... in the 1950s, the city of Philadelphia decided to recreate its original five public square layout developed by William Penn. In 1963, landscape architect, Dan Kiley, designed the five squares, each one represented by a fountain surrounded by large honey locust trees in park-like settings. For the Bicentennial, the international landscape architecture and urban design firm, OLIN, was commissioned to restore the five squares and reposition the famed Liberty Bell. The construction plan incorporated brick and marble walls as well as granite pools surrounding the fountains. Nearly 20-years ago, Independence Hall Park decided to change the area once again, removing the squares entirely and relocating Liberty Bell closer to Independence Hall. As for the fountains - two were moved to a nearby community garden, and the other three were returned to the foundry for recycling. Earlier this year, that garden sold the fountains and the new owner had them moved to Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, not far from Longwood Gardens. I got them through the Firehouse Antiques Center in Galena, Maryland. And now, they're headed north to Maine.
Here are some photos of the fountains, and their journey to my home on Mount Desert Island - enjoy.
When I went to see these fountains, I knew they would look beautiful at my home in Maine; however, they are extremely large and heavy, and the big challenge was transporting them.
Each bronze bowl fountain is 12-feet in diameter and 16-inches deep. The diameter of the center opening is 15-inches.
Each of these large, black granite supports is about three-feet tall, but it weighs one-ton – that’s right, each support weighs a ton!
And all the bronze was covered in a lovely green patina – the antiqued look or tarnish that appears when metal has been exposed to certain elements and an oxidation process.
Because of the weight of the fountains and bases, an “oversized load” truck and pilot car were used to transport the items from Philadelphia to Ellsworth, Maine, where my property director, Mike Fiore, met them. Mike then lead the truck the rest of the way to my home on Mount Desert Island.
Each piece was well-secured with industrial strength straps.
Here is Mike, in the GMC Acadia, slowly leading the way to my home.
On the way, they passed Northeast Harbor, a busy vacation spot – lots of people had their boats out on the water.
They also drove by Seal Harbor Beach.
The next stop was a nearby road near my home. Here, the fountains were moved to another truck equipped with a boom winch, which is used to transport heavy items to difficult to reach areas.
Our friends at Freshwater Stone in Orland, Maine, helped us out with their truck. I’ve been using Freshwater Stone for many years. Owner and master craftsman, Jeff Gammelin, is a granite expert – his crew knows exactly what to do. http://www.freshwaterstone.com
The bases were the first to be delivered.
They were brought to this overlook garden, on the property of an old house I recently bought in Maine right near Skylands.
Here is the base being lowered off the boom truck.
They were placed on two pieces of wood to keep them off the ground.
The first base, and then the second base. It takes quite some time to set-up two tons of granite.
The boom truck returned for the fountains, and again carefully moved them one by one.
Each bowl weighs 3500-pounds, so this also took some time to complete.
This is Ed, the truck driver, who transported the pieces from Philadelphia. He did a great job – thanks, Ed!
Freshwater Stone was extremely careful. The crew slowly drove the bowls up to the same garden.
Each fountain was then gently lifted off of the truck with the boom winch.
And, very carefully placed onto the wooden frame positioned in the clearing.
Fernando helped to guide the fountain as it reached the ground.
Because of the boom and the size of the fountains, one was placed closer to the road, while the other was placed in a clearing closer to the garden.
Here is the second fountain in its temporary spot in the overlook garden, facing Seal Harbor.
These fountains will look wonderful here. I am looking so forward to creating the layout for this garden space.