Longwood Gardens is home to the most significant fountain collection in North America and the jewel of that collection, the Main Fountain Garden, recently was brought back to life after a more than two-year revitalization. There is a Conshohocken connection to the fountain’s revitalization. Lepore Masonry & Stone worked on the project, which included a complete restoration of over 4,000 pieces of limestone.
The Main Fountain Garden is a hallmark of the Longwood experience visited by more than 1.35 million people each year. In 1931, Longwood’s founder Pierre S. du Pont debuted the Main Fountain Garden, which was inspired by 20th century technology from the world’s fairs and the beauty of renowned European gardens. After more than 80 years of entertaining guests at Longwood, much of the fountain gardens’ stonework was in need of repair and the mechanical systems, which included the original pumps from 1931, needed updating.
As Longwood embarked on preserving the Garden, the team looked to the future to honor du Pont’s vision and ensure the continued enjoyment of the fountains with an original concept of “adaptive restoration” guiding thousands of design, preservation, restoration and technology application decisions.
Architecturally, the Main Fountain Garden is an Italian Renaissance-inspired expanse constructed on 5 acres with loggias, arches, and decorative sculptures. Dressed in opulent horticulture, the landscape includes generous lawns, shaded alleés, and sculpted plantings returning the Garden to its lush classical European roots. Several new elements including the Pumphouse Plaza and restored Fountain Terrace offer guests new vistas and access to the Garden. While a new, hidden Grotto surprises and intrigues visitors and offers a quiet, contemplative space.
Lepore Masonry & Stone’s work included patching, crack repair, dutchmen repairs, reproduction, full unit replacement, pointing, and cleaning. Due to excavation and underground work, the limestone units had to be disassembled, crated, trucked to an offsite warehouse for restoration, re-created, and returned to the jobsite for installation.
The water theatrics of the Main Fountain Garden are a feat of design and engineering that rely on the most advanced technologies available, uniting the Fountain’s fully restored “Legacy Displays” with a new suite of fanciful fountain effects including basket weave and flame nozzles. The production of dramatic light and sound shows with fine aesthetic character are enabled by additional state-of-the-art technology systems.
Other new discoveries in the Main Fountain Garden include the welcoming Pumphouse Plaza and the Historic Pump Room & Gallery exhibit, which highlights the Garden’s original construction and showcases the original 18 pumps and mechanical systems that powered the fountains from 1931 to 2014.
You can find the more information about the fountain and the summer schedule at Longwood Gardens online.
Photos – Lepore Stone & Masonry