Butler-Perozzi Fountain Capital Campaign
Butler-Perozzi Fountain Talk: Time Traveling Tales
* Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023, 5:30
* Ashland Library, 410 Siskiyou Blvd
Description: Join Peter Finkle of Walk Ashland History Tours for little known stories (until now) to help expand our appreciation for the Butler-Perozzi fountain. We so easily take something like the fountain in Lithia Park for granted. So to put it in context, we will time-travel from the 1400s to the 1600s, then to the late 1800s and early 1900s. The fountain's tale touches European royalty, 500 year old vineyards, and an early 1900s Ashland creamery. We will also outline the current restoration plan and provide a campaign update from members of the Restoration Steering Committee.
The Butler-Perozzi Fountain was given to the City of Ashland by Gwin S. Butler and Domingo Perozzi in 1916. Sculpted in Italy out of Fiori di Peschi marble, the fountain is situated on a dedicated terrace near the sycamore grove across from the Butler Memorial Bandshell.
The fountain was sculpted by Antonio Frilli, who specialized in Belle Epoque subjects and contributed several large statues to Stanford University. He established an art gallery in Florence that still operates today. Butler and Perozzi found his delightful fountain at the 1915 San Francisco Panama-Pacific International Exhibition in San Francisco and purchased it for $3,000, a considerable sum in those days. They brought it to Ashland where a separate concrete foundation was built to house it. A stone staircase was also erected for easy access to Granite Street.
By the late 20th Century, the fountain was obscured by overgrowth, and the sculpture was deteriorating. The Verona marble the fountain is carved from is quite soft (for marble), so especially vulnerable to the elements.
In 1987, the Park’s Planning Director John Fregonese commissioned Ashland sculptor Jeffrey Bernard to restore the sculpture. Bernard had studied in Italy and was able to obtain some Flower of Peach marble to restore the pedestal and statue. He refurbished the original four gargoyles and foliage on the lower bowl of the fountain and created bronze replicas of the cupid and water-spouting swan. The original marble boy and goose atop the fountain were removed and stored at the Public Library, safe from the further deterioration of time and weather. A bronze replica was cast. Water flowed from the goose's spout, and new lighting illuminated the jewel of Lithia Park once more.
It was a massive, years-long effort by the City, many nonprofit groups, and individual contributions from the Ashland community who supported the restoration financially and otherwise.
But time and elements have taken their toll once again. The entire plumbing system needs repair and modernization. The concrete structures that surround the fountain look fine from a distance, but show great wear and tear closeup. Better access to serve the larger community is needed. The Ashland Parks Foundation is leading the effort to restore and preserve the beloved Butler-Perozzi Fountain and we hope all those who love the fountain and the park will help make this possible.
The Ashland Parks and Recreation Board of Commissioners decided to follow the restoration recommendations provided in a report from Architectural Resources Group. Commissioners also referenced our recommendation (Ashland Parks Foundation) in the direction to staff. The campaign also includes a generous maintenance fund to ensure the fountain is properly cared for in the future.
Together, we can preserve this beautiful jewel of Lithia Park!
To donate by credit card click on the link below or you can mail a check payable to Ashland Parks Foundation at PO Box 247, Ashland, OR 97520
Donations are tax-deductible in accordance with applicable laws.
Financial Goal $800,000
News and Project Updates
Lithia Park and the installation of the Butler-Perozzi Fountain were the result of a grand movement of its time. Read about the foresight Ashland residents of the 19th and 20th century implemented during the “City Beautiful” movement, and the influence of groups such as the The Chautauqua Association and The Ashland Women’s Civic Improvement Club had on parks that have contributed to the charm, and livability, of Ashland.
Learn more details about the breakdown of costs to restore the fountain and site.
How Butler and Perozzi left their mark for all to enjoy. Learn about who Gwin Butler and Domingo Perozzi were and how their gifts 100 years ago continue to have their impact today, including other historic landmarks and places in Ashland such as SOU and the Elks Lodge.
In this article by Peter Finkle, learn about the biggest bash in Ashland history which coincided with the unveiling of the Butler-Perozzi fountain over 100 years ago!
The foundation is excited to announce the addition of two honorary co-chairs pivotal in the community and to our campaign to restore the Butler-Perozzi Fountain.
A lot has happened since the Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission (APRC) sent out a simple survey earlier this year asking the public to weigh-in on what they would like to see happen with the Butler-Perozzi Fountain. Recommendations, approvals, assembling a committee, and kickstarting a fundraiser to name a few activities!
“Enjoying the contemplative beauty of the historic Butler-Perozzi Fountain just a few minutes from the hustle and bustle of town is the very definition of public art.”
-Mike Gardiner, APF President