Future Unclear For Welsh Fountain

by Michael Burch

A couple of years ago in the March 2014 edition, the Parkside Journal published a story about the fountain that sits directly in front of the Please Touch Museum. If you are like most people who live in Parkside or the people who drive by it on their way to and from Center City every day, you may not know the name of this fountain or anything about its origin. It is called the John Welsh Memorial Fountain.

John Welsh Fountain in Winter
John Welsh Fountain in Winter

It turns out that this fountain has some historical significance to the area because it was named for and 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 Park. John Welsh as one of the original Fairmount 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 never knew any of this. My friends and I only knew that the fountain worked and that it looked great.

That was a long time ago and the fountain has not functioned in decades. A short time ago the Journal learned that fountain might see new life. After all things have been happening in Parkside, five years ago the Garden Club of America rehabbed Concourse Lake, the Catholic Abstinence Fountain is getting a face lift and serious plans are underway for the Parkside Edge Project to “re-image” the edge of Parkside Avenue beginning next month.

Sometime ago the Journal learned that Philadelphia Horticultural Society has been studying the possibility of rebuilding the fountain. We have not heard anything further from the Society and do not know the results of the study. It is possible that it was concluded that it was not viable to proceed further on such a project. The Journal will be sure to update our readers on any new developments regarding this iconic fountain. If anyone has picture(s) of the Welsh fountain when it was working, please email them to us at parksidejournal@yahoo.com.

We would love to see them and may show your picture in our next edition.

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