“Fountain” in the Park

by Michael Burch

John Welsh Fountain in Winter
John Welsh Fountain in Winter

The residents of Parkside are no doubt familiar with the picture shown to the right of this article. I, along with all the other kids who grew up in Parkside, simply called it “the fountain” (in front of Memorial Hall). No one knew its true name or origin. I guess you are young, details like the names of familiar objects or places don’t seem to matter much. “The fountain”, however, does have a specific name. It is formally known as the John Welsh Memorial Fountain. This fountain was dedicated to Mr. John Welsh for his service to the City of Philadelphia and to his country. He was instrumental in bringing the 1876 Centennial Exhibition here to Philadelphia in Fairmount

John Welsh was one of the original Farimount Park commissioners and became the principal officer and president of the Centennial Board of Finance. If you were anything like me growing up in Parkside, you probably played or even ‘partied’ around this fountain, but never actually saw it in operation. However that may soon change. The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society is conducting a study about the feasibility of rehabbing the fountain. This means there is a possibility that this 100 year old fountain could be functioning again!! This would greatly enhance the beauty of Fairmount Park and our Parkside neighborhood. We can ALL help in this effort. The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society is looking for any pictures that anyone may have of the fountain when it was actually working. If you have pictures of the WORKING fountain that you would like to share, please email them to:


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