April 7, 2018 | Another Northbrae Fountain …9 Comments | Categorised in: Uncategorized
Friends and neighbors:
Recently, an antiques and ephemera collector contacted Friends of the Fountain and Walk with an intriguing pair of photographs he’d found among others in an old photo album he’d purchased.
The photos pictured a young woman in early 20th century clothing posed near a pair of fountains. One of them was the Fountain at The Circle. The other was a smaller, less ornate fountain. But the woman appeared to be wearing the same clothes, so likely was photographed the same day, making it likely the other fountain was somewhere nearby. But where?
Our first inquiry was to our friends at the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association. Their ace history detective, Daniella Thompson, couldn’t quite place the smaller fountain from the clues in the photo, but passed along this information from a newspaper article she found a from the time that the Northbrae Terrace development was under construction:
“Perhaps the most distinctive ornamental feature of Northbrae is the fountains now under course of construction. Springs have been impounded and a series of concrete cisterns built to feed these fountains and keep them running night and day forever. One of these fountains will be near the main entrance to the property; another will be at the union station just described; a third and the most pretentious one will be at the center of ‘The Circle.’”
The “most pretentious one” is the one we all know well. “Union Station” was the commuter train stop outside the Solano Tunnel. But the image of the smaller fountain did not appear to show anything in that area. It must have been the one “near the main entrance to the property.” But where was that?
Another clue from BAHA’s Thompson: “The tract map of the Northbrae Properties shows only the Fountain at The Circle. However, the intersection of The Alameda, Marin, and Monterey, where the tract office was located, is shown as a circle. Might the fountain in the photo you sent have been a feature of that plaza, where the round fire station now stands?”
Indeed, the sales office of developers Mason-McDuffie stood on the triangular island where Monterey and Marin merge at The Alameda. So that could be considered the “main entrance.”
But in the background of the photo of the smaller fountain is a distinctive house. If we could locate that — if it was still standing — we could determine where the fountain had been.
Luckily, we have several “Friends” who know a lot about our neighborhood, including FOFW board member Holly Rose, who is a local real estate agent. She was able to identify it as 1109 The Alameda, a home just south of the Monterey-Marin merge. It looks a bit different today than in the old photo, but clearly the same house (the online photo has an incorrect address).
That means that the smaller fountain had been located somewhere near the intersection of Monterey and The Alameda. On the island where the firehouse now stands? Across the street on the southwest corner? It’s not quite clear yet. If you have any clue as to its precise location, please let us know. And if you have any images of the “Union Station” fountain, please send that along to our email: email@example.com.« February at the Fountain | Another Northbrae fountain: Part 2 »