Landmarks of Grant Park

The Erskine Memorial Fountain

Year: 1896
Style: Victorian Exotic Revival
Type: Fountain
Map: The corner of Ormond and Cherokee

The Erskine Memorial Fountain, which was Atlanta’s first public fountain, is an even older structure than most of the Grant Park homes. It was originally dedicated to Judge John Erskine on May 2, 1896, at a location in what is now Midtown Atlanta (the corner of West Peachtree and Peachtree Streets). More than 1,500 people attended the ceremony. The bench and fountain were a gift to the city from Ruby Ward, as a tribute to her father Judge John Erskine. After the surrounding streets were regraded in 1912, the fountain had to be relocated. It has resided in Grant Park for over 100 years.

The fountain and accompanying bench were designed by John Massey Rhind, who also designed three doors dedicated to John Jacob Astor, III in New York City’s Trinity Church. Rhind’s bronze and marble design for the fountain features an ocean theme, consisting of fish, seahorses, crabs and other sea life. Of the two, the bench is in better condition, and you can still see each sign of the Zodiac clearly visible along with an inscription that reads “This Fountain Is Erected in Memory of Judge John Erskine by His Daughter” carved into the backrest.

Today, the Erskine Fountain Fund (EFF) has been sanctioned and supported by the Grant Park Conservancy to restore this beautiful, historic work of public art. The EFF was formed by civic-minded individuals and organizations like the Atlanta Preservation Center, M.H. Mitchell Inc., Grant Park Conservancy and History Atlanta, which have taken it upon themselves to organize and manage the restoration.
Ask our Tour staff about further details of the restoration when you pick up your tour booklet!