April 19, 2018 | Another Northbrae Fountain: Part 3

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Friends and neighbors:

The mystery of the second Northbrae fountain is solved — well, at least the part about exactly where it stood before it was removed. (You can read the back story in our two previous posts.)

John Coleman, who lives on Monterey Avenue near The Alameda, sent along this note and a photograph that definitively places the smaller fountain in the middle of the crosswalk at that intersection:

“I can help solve the mystery of the location of the second Northbrae fountain.

“It was approximately located where the current traffic signal is outside of my father, Gordon’s, residence (1835 Monterey) in the North-South crosswalk on the corner of Monterey Ave and The Alameda.

“I have scanned and attached a copy of a satellite photograph of the intersection that was given to my father by a neighbor who is now deceased.  The satellite picture was said to have been taken in, or around, 1947 (if you look closer you can see vintage automobiles and what may be Key System rail tracks veering Eastbound off The Alameda?).”

And, indeed, the photo, actually an aerial shot looking southwest down Monterey Avenue (click on the link above to view it), clearly shows the small fountain in that location. So now we know precisely where our young lady posing in the old photo was. And that the fountain was still standing in the late 1940s.

Thanks to John and everyone who responded to our inquiries. If anyone has more information or documentation on this fountain, or another that supposedly was to be placed near Sutter and Hopkins streets outside the Solano Tunnel, please let us know. Email us at fountainandwalk@gmail.com.

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  • Susan says:

    This is so exciting… I wonder if anything is left of the fountain or whether it was torn down completely

    • Friends of the Fountain and Walk says:

      Hello, Susan. It seems unlikely there would be much of anything of this fountain left, unless it was moved somewhere else. (Perhaps we can find that out.) Like the Fountain at The Circle, it appears to have been made of cast concrete, so pretty heavy and tough to move elsewhere. As for the water source, apparently it was a gravity-fed system fed by natural springs. The springs are likely still running underground (except maybe during drought), but probably no more “infrastructure” to make a fountain go. When the Fountain at The Circle was re-created in 1996, a whole new plumbing and pumping system had to be built. If you study the photo, you’ll see that it appears there was no street parking along that section on Monterey (at least on the southeast side, where there were two lanes of traffic). Reinstalling such a fountain at that spot today would require re-engineering the street to an extent I don’t think the city (or residents or drivers) would much like. But, who knows?

  • Robert Mathiesen says:

    The satellite picture entirely matches my memory of the intersection of Monterey Avenue and The Alameda when I lived at 1912 Monterey 1952-1960. The train tracks were not there (or at least no longer visible) during those years, but the triangular patch of land bounded by The Alameda, Monterey and Marin was still a kind of park, with a shelter in it to wait for trains. My parents knew, and told me, that the shelter had once served as a train station. (I wrote more about this and the third fountain in my comment to Part 2 of this series of posts, before I saw Part 3.)

    • Friends of the Fountain and Walk says:

      Thanks for all this information, Robert. we are hopeful that images of a third (and maybe a fourth) fountain in Northbrae may turn up some day.

    • Don says:

      The land bound by The Alameda, Monterey, and Marin is a fire station. The shelter you refer to was in the triangle at Monterey and Colusa. It was torn down in 1968. I really wish there were pictures of it.

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