Major Donation Will Restore Historic West Chester Fountain

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Friends of Marshall Square Park received $45,000 from a single benefactor.
By Justin Heinze (Patch Staff) June 19, 2015

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Fountain Committee Members: [L-R] Tony Stancato, Anne Walters, FMSP Vice President and Fountain Committee Chair; Pat Loew, FMSP Primary Benefactor; Jeff Beitel, FMSP President

Friends of Marshall Square Park (FMSP), a West Chester community group, announced a major donation for the restoration of the park’s historic fountain on June 18 at the Music at Marshall concert in the park.

Holly Brown, former Borough Council President and a member of FMSP’s Fountain Committee, said this gift allows the group to restore and install a working fountain before the end of this year.

The park’s new benefactor is Pat Loew, widow of well-known developer and philanthropist Jack Loew.

Her gift of $45,000 almost matches all funds raised by FMSP in the past few years.

In recognition, FMSP proposes to designate the restored fountain the “Jack Loew Memorial Fountain.”

Installed in 1889 at the northeast corner of the park, the five-tiered Victorian fountain quickly became a hub of community activity. By 1932, the Daily Local News wrote:

“When the tall central stream is turned on, tossing its waters high in the air, and filling the twenty-foot pool with spray… that produces a genuine thrill, a gorgeous effect to be remembered.”

By the 1950s, most of this great fountain was removed, leaving behind its basin and lowest tier. The upper portions were later found and saved from destruction by Gene and Joan Gagliardi, who installed them at their farm in East Bradford. With their help, Friends of Marshall Square Park recovered these sections in 2012, drew up plans for full restoration, and set about raising the needed funds.

The plans shown Thursday night include restoring the iron fountain and basin, installing a new iron fence to match the existing one, and re-laying and expanding the antique brick paving. At the end of the first phase, the fountain will be fully operational with a new pump, modern plumbing and electrical service, plus lighting and security features.

According to FMSP President Jeff Beitel, “Our goal is to create a welcoming space and gateway for our town.”

Anne Walters, FMSP Vice President and Chair of its Fountain Committee, pointed out that though current funds are enough to restore and install a working fountain, it will cost more to complete the “gateway” features. The final goal is $200,000, with almost $130,000 already raised or pledged by FMSP members and donors.

To reach the final goal, FMSP seeks donations of any amount and offers special recognition for major donors. Donor opportunity details are available at marshallsquarepark.org.

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