The Fountain at The Circle and Fountain Walk, Berkeley’s first public works of art, have been beloved landmarks of the Northbrae neighborhood for over a century. The fountain, spectacularly located within a landscaped roundabout at Marin Avenue and Arlington Avenue, is a detailed re-creation of the 1911 original, which was demolished after being hit by a truck in the late 1950s. It was beautifully and accurately restored in 1996 through the devoted efforts of Berkeley residents and local businesses, led by Friends of the Fountain and Walk. Surrounding The Circle and continuing along adjacent Fountain Walk, a shaded pedestrian walkway, is a cast-stone balustrade also dating to 1911. The sparkling water of the fountain, its four cheerful, pot-bellied grizzly bear cubs, the balustrades and Fountain Walk are all elements of a classic Beaux Arts design by acclaimed architect John Galen Howard.
Friends of the Fountain and Walk is an all-volunteer, state and federally recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit group that led the effort nearly a quarter-century ago to restore these landmarks to their original glory. That project constituted the largest privately-funded public works project ever undertaken in the City of Berkeley. Today, we continue as stewards of these civic treasures: raising funds, volunteering, and working hand in hand with the city to maintain and improve them.