Fountain Celebration

It has been 100 years since Berkeley was lobbying to be the Capital of California. The Fountain at The Circle was going to be the grand entrance to the Capital building, which was to be located on Indian Rock. Each of the seven streets that radiate out from The Circle is named after a county in California. The politicians opted to choose Sacramento over Berkeley.

Berkeley is fortunate to have such a wonderful icon that was rebuilt by a non-profit group, Friends of the Fountain and Walk, and dedicated to the City of Berkeley in 1996. It is also a fact that the surrounding balustrades around The Circle and down Fountain Walk were built in 1911. As a result, many of them are broken and in need of repair. Some of them have been repaired and/or replaced over the years, but many more are in sad shape.

It was indeed a great opportunity to celebrate the 100th anniversary, and at the same time raise money to allow the needed repairs to take place.

On Sunday October 16th from 2-4pm, the community celebrated the 100th Anniversary by gathering at The Circle at Mendocino and Los Angeles to have some sweet treats on the grassy median between Mendocino and Los Angeles.

Check out more photos and news from the event.

Our Council Member from District 5, Laurie Capitelli and his office, and Susan Wengraf from District 6 and her staff, were co-sponsors of the event. We thank them for their support. Thanks also to the City of Berkeley for providing the banners publicizing the event.

Many of the local businesses that contributed to our celebration:

  • Andronico’s on Solano
  • Andronico’s on Shattuck
  • Artist & Craftsman Supply
  • Bel Forno
  • Berkeley Bagels
  • Berkeley Natural Grocery Company
  • Copy Central-Shattuck
  • Gensler
  • Hopkins Street Bakery
  • Joann Fabrics
  • La Farine
  • Lo Coco’s
  • Monterey Market
  • Noah’s Bagels on Solano
  • Paper Plus Outlet
  • Payn’s Stationery
  • Peet’s Coffee on Solano
  • Peet’s Coffee on Vine
  • Safeway on Rose
  • Saul’s Restaurant & Delicatessen
  • Tom’s Best Ever Granola
  • Virginia Bakery

In addition to free food and drinks, we had items available for sale to help raise funds for the balustrade repairs: note cards, including a commemorative one of the fountain with the bears decorated for the 100th anniversary, some T-shirts, some items matted for framing, including art work by Michele Manning, and free bumper stickers. Feel free to check out all our merchandise on our website.

In order to provide a safe environment for attendees and residents, the City of Berkeley closed the two streets adjacent to the median from 1pm to 5pm:

  • Mendocino from The Circle to the end of the median.
  • Los Angeles between Mendocino and The Circle. East Bound Los Angeles traffic was diverted to the left, down Mendocino to The Arlington.

A limited number of unmarked disabled parking spaces were available on the street on Los Angeles and Mendocino. Though we encouraged attendees to walk, bike or take public transit, other attendees could park in the Northbrae Community Church parking lot.

The Berkeley Path Wanderers Association walk ended at our event. The Berkeley Historical Society attended the event, bringing old photos for all to enjoy.

There is a back story to how this 100th anniversary celebration came about. On July 19th Sara Holmes received an email from Scott Dunlap, a neighbor who said that he would like to donate LED icicle lights (a personal donation) to decorate the fountain for the holiday that year. Both met and Scott reminded Sara that it would be the 100th anniversary of the fountain! Since so many balustrades are in such disrepair, both thought it to be a good idea to do both, celebrate AND raise money for repairs.

Scott works for Gensler, (a global architecture firm in San Francisco). There was a collaborative effort to design the banner for the celebration and Scott volunteered their graphic design department (Cathy Terashita), and she created the banners. After the celebration, the second banner that invites people to continue supporting the balustrade repair fund was put up.

Scott also provided a scaled down version of the banner on foam core. This was displayed during the Solano Stroll at Laurie Capitelli’s (District 5 Council Member) booth. All of the work by Scott and his firm were provided pro bono.

Berkeley-Path-Wanderers-AssociationSince the banner went up at The Circle advertising the 100th anniversary of the fountain, there has been much support from the community. Also, Friends of the Fountain and Walk would like to thank Laurie Capitelli’s office for allowing us to publicize the event at their booth at the Solano Stroll. As a result, the Berkeley Historical Society wanted to participate with a display of pictures from the past. Berkeley Path Wanderers Association held a walk on the day of the event, culminating at The Circle. They also volunteered to sweep Fountain Walk before the anniversary event on October 16th. Members of the Berkeley Camera Club took photographs the day of the celebration. Donations to repair the broken balustrades around The Circle and down Fountain Walk began to come in.

Old_Balusters + $ = Repaired_Balusters
Broken Balustrade Repaired Balustrade

On October 1st, the Friends of the Fountain and Walk volunteers put up lights (donated by Scott Dunlap) along the chain and bollards, around the fountain. Also, some neighbor children decorated the bears with party hats and star garland necklaces (donated by Paper Plus Outlet), in anticipation of the 100th anniversary celebration on the 16th. We left the bears adorned and the lights up through the holidays. On December 3rd we replaced the anniversary decorations on the bears with the wreaths.