The gift of merchant L. A. Gunther (b. abt. 1821, Hannovr, Germany) , this 18-foot-high bronze fountain between Mosher and Townsend streets has always been outshone by the larger, more elaborate “centennial” or “children’s” fountain in the 1800 block of Eutaw. Yet the two are often confused.
The centennial fountain, donated by wealthy residents of the newly-fashionable Eutaw Place neighborhood, was purchased from Mott & Co. of New York after it was exhibited at the 1876 Exposition in Philadephia (Scharf, History of Baltimore, 281).
By 1877, Eutaw Place extended northwest from Dolphin Street to North Avenue.
“By the 1880s,” according to Baltimore architecture historians Mary Ellen Hayward and Frank R. Shivers, Jr., “the newly developed upper portions of Eutaw Place were the residential place of choice for Baltimore’s wealthy German-Jewish community. Owners of the city’s primary department stores, dry-goods businesses and garment manufactories–the Hutzlers, Hochschilds, Bragers, Gutmans, Strouses, Sonneborns, and Hechts, to name a few–built town palaces on Eutaw Place . . .” (The Architecture of Baltimore: An Illustrated History, p. 216).
Its handsome residences and park-like median were one of the prides of the city, and the centennial fountain, turned on May 19, 1877, was its centerpiece:
“The outer basin is forty-eight feet in diameter, and the main fountain, standing upon a granite base, is fifty feet high and has three distinct basins, the water flowing from the two upper ones to the lower, which is ten feet in diameter and richly ornamented. A graceful female figure, standing in a shell, surmounts the work. Smaller figures on the surface of the water, and vases of flowers surrounding the outer basin, complete one of the most beautiful fountains in the city” (Scharf, 281).
Both fountains fell upon hard times as the area declined in the 1950s and 1960s. The centennial fountain broke apart under the weight of ice and snow in 1945.The Gunther fountain may have been melted down for its bronze during the second World War.
Eutaw Place’s fine residences began being bought and restored in the late 1990s. In 2005-2006, the Bolton Hill Garden Club was able to help Eutaw Place residents in their efforts to replace the Gunther fountain.
In 2009, the Club was able to bring a new fountain–now solar-powered–to the 1800 block, along with plantings. The 1800 block project won two awards from the Federated Garden Clubs of Maryland in 2010. The Bolton Hill Garden Club has posted a slide show of the fountain’s restoration on its website.
Other images of the Eutaw Place fountains:
–-Black-and-white photograph of the centennial fountain at the Maryland Historical Society
—Postcard, Centennial Fountain, private collection
—Chase stereoview of Centennial Fountain, George Eastman House