Mariani Fountain

Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

There is some dispute as to the origins of this fountain now located in Aquatic Park which was previously located at 23rd and Columbia (now Florida) Streets in front of the S. Mariani & Sons hardware store.

A member of the Mariani family stated that the fountain was cast in Oakland in 1872 and acquired by her father nine years later. However, documents included in the Karl Kortum papers at the San Francisco Maritime library identify the fountain as previously outside the Hibernia Savings and Loan Society (known as Peter Donahue’s Bank) at Montgomery & Post during the 1870s and 1880s. In 1881 it was relocated outside the Mariani hardware store. Perhaps it was purchased by Mariani to be erected outside his business.

The above photograph was part of a newspaper article. The caption reads, “Not for sale is this original 82 year-old Mission fountain, owned by Walter A. Mariani, long-time hardware merchant. The City wants it for a bridle path on Sunset Blvd. Mrs. Amanda Rivera poses beside the relic.”

The move to Sunet Blvd did not come to fruition. However, it was relocated to a newly created park (the vision of Maritime Museum director, Karl Kortum ) at the Hyde Street cable car turntable and the dead-end of Jefferson Street. The fountain was donated to the park by the Mariani family where it was erected in 1962.

The cast iron octagonal pedestal fountain offered a supply of drinking water to humans, horses and smaller animals. Arched panels and rosettes decorated the column. A fluted, recessed, demilune basin with a cup suspended on a chain offered a drinking receptacle for humans. On the opposite side a fluted trough was offered for the refreshment of horses. Water flowed from a lion mask. Small fluted demilune basins were situated at ground level on the remaining two sides for the convenience of dogs. Overflow water from the basins above was released from a lion’s head mask.

A small engraved plaque inset to the ground states, A Gift To The State Of California By The Pioneer Mariani Family. The Grandfather, James Mariani, Arrived On These Shores In 1852. Presented In The Memory Of The Father, Stephen Mariani, Who Purchased The Fountain In 1881 To Place In Front Of His Establishment At 23rd And Florida November 1961.

• Demilune, half moon or crescent shape
• Fluted, a long rounded groove
• Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue


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