Memorial Fountain deconstructed as part of a $1.54M restoration
A crew with Burkhardt Construction, Inc. removes the bowl from the Memorial Fountain on Wednesday as part of the a $1.54 million renovation.
The dismantling of iconic Memorial Fountain is nearly complete.
The fountain, which was built in 1929 using concrete mixed with crushed coral, has been patched a few times in the past few decades. But the Town Council approved a $1.54 million restoration of the fountain last year after expert analysis revealed extensive deterioration. The project also includes repairing the reflecting pool as well as upgrading electrical and mechanical systems for both.
On Tuesday, workers removed the upper stem of the Addison Mizner-designed fountain. The next day, crews removed the large upper bowl and the west-facing hippocamp, or horse of the sea, as a crane pulled those elements above the scaffolding surrounding Memorial Park’s upper terrace and lowered them to the ground. The remaining three hippocamps were removed Thursday.
Workers plan to reuse the four torsos of the hippocamps and recast their finned hooves and other detailed areas.
The fountain’s bowls, stem and walls will go into storage and recast those elements.
The large bowl was cracked and worn at the edges, Palm Beach architect Mark Marsh noticed Wednesday before that bowl was removed.
“It’s lost all the detailing. There’s no way the water could spill over” properly, Marsh said.
Premier Stoneworks of Delray Beach will clean the pieces that are going into storage.
Separating the first hippocamp from the fountain stem Wednesday took more than four hours. Crews had to work around wood braces supporting them, but more challenging was the unanticipated connection points between the hippocamps and the stem of the fountain, said Tony Sabatino, project manager for project engineering firm Burkhardt Construction. A worker with Mulford Enterprises used a wet saw to slice through the horizontal and vertical connecting points.
“There was a vast amount of rebar (metal support) that was inside the hippocamp, along the bridge bone area and/or the rib-cage area where everything had to be sawed out,” Sabatino said. The team had an easier time removing the other three hippocamps, which each weigh about 1,700 pounds, on Thursday.
“We’ve come across a few hurdles that we had to cross that were unexpected, but, all in all, everything is going quite well and we are on schedule,” Sabatino said.
Burkhardt is working with general contractor Hedrick Brothers Construction on the project. The two companies worked together on the $15.8 million Worth Avenue streetscape renovation, which was completed in 2011.
Marsh created the plan to renovate Memorial Park and the Town Hall Square Historic District, with considerable community input and the aid of landscape designer Jorge Sanchez of SMI Landscape Architecture.
Last fall, the Town Council separated the project into two parts to allow the fountain restoration to start as soon as possible. Phase 2 includes placing large canopy trees on the east and west sides of the fountain, installing two rows of shade trees with benches to the south of the fountain and upgrading the sidewalks in that two-block area of County Road, among other changes. That phase will start after the community raises $1 million toward its cost.