Works of Art
In the main circle of the park one may find the Washington Park Fountain, also known as the Chiming Fountain. Chime-like drips of water flow from one bronze pan to another and gargoyles are placed around the base spout water. Commissioned by the city in 1891, the cast iron fountain was created by John (Hans) Staehli, a Swiss woodcarver and artist, who designed it after a Renaissance fountain.
Originally the fountain was painted white and was topped by a cast iron figure of a boy holding a staff from which water spouted. At some point over the years, the figure disappeared. The last known record of it was in 1912 when McElroy’s band was photographed in concert nearby. In 1960, the fountain was in such disrepair that the city was ready to scrap it. Local longshoreman Francis J. Murnane, whose avocation was the preservation of historic buildings and objects, appealed to Mayor Terry Schrunk and the park bureau was authorized to begin restoration.
A bronze statue of the heroic Shoshone Indian woman who helped lead the Lewis and Clark explorers through the mountains of the west, Sacajawea, is located near the Chiming Fountain. Mounted on a rough boulder, it was first unveiled on July 7, 1905 at the Lewis and Clark Centennial. Among those present at the unveiling were Susan B. Anthony, Abigail Scott Duniway, and Eva Emery Dye. The project was promoted and paid for by subscriptions solicited nationwide by a group of Portland women headed by Mrs. Sarah Evans. The committee commissioned Alice Cooper of Denver, at that time an understudy of Lorado Taft, to sculpt the statue. It was cast in New York and required 14 tons of copper which came from the Sweden mine, just below Mt. St. Helens. The copper was donated by Dr. Henry Waldo Coe of Portland. In April 1906, the statue was placed in its current location in Washington Park. Its inscription reads, “Erected by the women of the United States in memory of the only woman in the Lewis & Clark expedition, and in honor of pioneer mother of Oregon.”
Coming of the White Man is a bronze statue featuring two Native Americans. The older of the two is said to be Chief Multnomah of the Multnomah people. Facing eastwar, they look down upon the route that ox teams trudged bringing settlers to this part of the country. Completed in 190, it was sculpted by Herman A. MacNeil and cast by Bureau Brothers Foundry. The statue was given to the city by the heirs of David P. Thompson, an early Portland mayor and donor of the elk statue on Main between the Plaza Blocks.
Placed at the entrance to the park, the Lewis and Clark Memorial is a 34-foot, rectangular granite shaft with each side bearing a large bronze replica of the great seals of the States of Oregon, Washington, Montana, and Idaho which comprised the Northwest Territory. This was the only portion of the United States that was acquired by discovery and therefore was never under a foreign flag. President Theodore Roosevelt laid the foundation stone on May 21, 1903. The memorial was completed in 1908.