Brewer Fountain and Plaza

The plaza and park surrounding the fully restored Brewer Fountain were transformed into one of Boston’s most memorable places. New trees line Liberty Mall and frame an iconic view of the Statehouse with its gold dome. A circular granite plaza with benches, tables, and movable chairs surrounds the fountain, providing places where people can eat lunch, play chess, read books from the mobile cart, or listen to live piano music. What was first thought of as a simple restoration project became a major place-making opportunity.

Background: Parks Commissioner Antonia Pollak first approached the Solomon Foundation in 2006 seeking assistance for the restoration of one of Boston’s oldest and most venerable works of public art, the Brewer Fountain. The fountain had again fallen into disrepair after piecemeal efforts to fix it. Foundation staff persuaded Commissioner Pollack and Henry Lee, Chairman of the Friends of the Public Garden that fixing the fountain without also fixing the plaza and park around it would inevitably lead to a repeat of the past. The plaza around the fountain – and, indeed, the entire eastern gateway to the Boston Common – was in dire need of revitalization. Unless people felt welcome to linger in this area, they would not care about it nor advocate for its ongoing maintenance.

The city restored the fountain in 2011, and a private partnership led by the Friends of the Public Garden transformed the Brewer Fountain Plaza and Liberty Mall in 2012. Phase two improvements including the historic boundary fence and additional green space along Lafayette Mall were completed in the fall of 2014. Biederman Redevelopment Ventures was hired to help program and animate the plaza with food trucks, movable tables and chairs, live music, and an outdoor library kiosk. The result is one of the best loved places in the City of Boston.

Rendering Caption. Type in Media Library.
Timeline
DateMilestone
2006Conversation with Boston Parks and the Friends of the Public Garden initiated
2007Public-private partnership formed
2009Design consultant hired
2010Fundraising starts
2011Fountain restored
2012New plaza and park opened to the public
2012Pubic programming begins
2014Lafayette Mall restored

Project Details

Initiated
  • 2006
Solomon Investments
  • $366,800
Partner Investments
  • $4,000,000
Key Partners
Consultants
Status
  • Plaza and fountain continue to operate thanks to a generous endowment from Bobby Sager
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