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Chiming Fountain

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Chiming Fountain

One of Portland’s original pieces of public art is still on display today in Washington Park. The Chiming Fountain is located in what is considered to be Washington Park’s main circle at the junction of SW Sacajawea Boulevard and SW Sherwood Boulevard.

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The seven-foot, decorative fountain made of concrete, bronze, and iron was installed in 1891 after the City commissioned Hans Staehli, a Swiss artisan woodcarver, for $400. Staehli modeled it after a Renaissance fountain, designing it to serve as a watering trough for horses pulling carriages into the Park.  

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"It was originally known as the Cherub Fountain..." 

It was originally known as the Cherub Fountain as it was painted white and topped with a cast iron figure of a boy holding a staff. In the 1920s, water left in the fountain during freezing weather expanded and destroyed the figure of the boy. It was never replaced. Without it, the fountain was renamed the Chiming Fountain in reference to the sound made by water dripping from the upper basin.

 

In 1960, the fountain was in such disrepair that the City planned to remove it. However, Mayor Terry Schrunk instructed the Parks Bureau to begin a restoration after Francis J. Murnane, a local longshoreman and advocate for historic preservation, appealed its removal. 

 

Despite the fountain’s 1960 restoration, it did not function for many years. It wasn’t until after the Smithsonian Institution's "Save Outdoor Sculpture!” program deemed its condition "treatment urgent" in 1994 that the fountain's water-pumping function was fixed.

Learn more about the history of Washington Park here.

Discover

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In 1998, TriMet built the Washington Park MAX Station, which is the deepest transit station in North America at 260 feet below ground. It's also the only underground station in the entire MAX system.

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Founded in 1928 to conserve endangered species and educate the community, Hoyt Arboretum encompasses 190 ridge-top acres and 12 miles of hiking and biking trails just minutes from downtown Portland. 

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Explore & Connect

Explore over 150 years of Washington Park, originally called City Park, and its many destinations by virtually visiting the featured Discovery Points. Each Discovery Point connects you to history, photos, and community members’ stories.