March 18, 2019 | A Walk and a Talk About the Fountain, Walk and Northbrae

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Friends and neighbors:

Mark your calendars for a pair of events chronicling the history of the Fountain at The Circle and Fountain Walk and their Northbrae neighborhood:

Circle/Walk/Northbrae Walking Tour

On Saturday, May 18, join the Friends of the Fountain and Walk and the Berkeley Historical Society for a walking tour of the Northbrae neighborhood that is home to the beloved Fountain at The Circle and adjacent Fountain Walk. Learn about the history of the fountain and its whimsical grizzly bear cubs, Berkeley’s first public work of art in 1911; these landmarks’ role in an ill-fated plan to crown Berkeley the capital of California; and about the neighbor-led effort to restore the fountain and walk in the 1990s. The walk will also take note of other neighborhood landmarks, both natural and architectural.

The tour will begin at 10 a.m. and end by approximately noon, and take place rain or shine. We will gather on the south side of The Circle at the top of Fountain Walk. The planned route is about 1.5 miles, including some uphill and downhill travel.

The Berkeley Historical Society is the tour sponsor and this is a ticketed event. Pre-paid reservations are required ($8 for BHS members; $10 for non-members) and payable by check or credit card but only available by mail or phone. Information about this and other BHS walks and a downloadable sign-up form for tickets is available here. 

If this walk is successful, FOFW may begin hosting its own walking tours on a regular basis.

Hillside Club Fireside Meeting

On Monday, June 3, FOFW will offer an illustrated talk about the history of the fountain and walk at the Berkeley Hillside Club’s monthly Fireside Meeting. It was more than a century ago that the developers of Northbrae installed Berkeley’s first public work of art: a grand fountain in the center of a circle where streetcars serving the new subdivision traveled past. The fountain, a surrounding classical balustrade and an adjoining pathway were designed by famed UC Berkeley architect John Galen Howard; the fountain’s artistic elements and its signature grizzly bear cubs were created by renowned California sculptor Arthur Putnam.

At the Fireside Meeting, learn more about the history of the fountain, the neighborhood that gave birth to it, the original fountain’s demise and destruction, and the Northbrae neighbors who came together to reconstruct it and continue to help preserve and maintain it today.

Fireside Meetings begin with a Hillside Club business meeting at 7 p.m. The presentation of about an hour starts at 7:30. The meeting is open to the public and admission is free. More information can be found on the club’s website. 

We hope you can join us for one or both of these events. Questions? Contact us at

— Friends of the Fountain and Walk

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  • Ben McClinton says:

    What is BHS? We are members of FOFW. We are interested in the May 18 walk.

    • Friends of the Fountain and Walk says:

      Hello, Ben. BHS is the Berkeley Historical Society, which we are partnering with on this walk. As I said in the post, we are trying this out and may sponsor walks like this on our own in the future. To sign up for this walk, got to the BHS website, download the registration form and send it in. Here’s the page to find that:
      Thanks for being a Friend of the Fountain!

  • Alina Constantinescu says:

    Is this in May or did it already happen in March?

    • Friends of the Fountain and Walk says:

      Hi. The walking tour is scheduled for Saturday, May 18. The information about how to sign up is included in the post. Thanks!

  • Alina says:

    Thank you! Sorry, the title of the blog entry said ‘March 18’ and I got confused. Glad I didn’t miss it 🙂

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