Friends of Erskine

Our Mission

The restoration and preservation of the Erskine Memorial Fountain and the surrounding site for the enjoyment and pleasure of Atlanta's citizens and visitors.


The Erskine Fountain is a memorial to Judge John Erskine, gifted to the city of Atlanta in 1896 by his daughter, Ruby Ward. It was originally located at the intersection of Peachtree and West Peachtree Streets. Adorned with bronze cups attached with chain, the fountain was not only a work of public art, but also a source of drinking water.

Judge John Erskine served on the Federal District Court of Georgia during the Reconstruction period following the Civil War. He is remembered as a defender of individual property rights and a moderating voice at a time of acrimony between North and South.

Ward commissioned John Massey Rhind to create the fountain, a prominent memorial designer who was already well known for the set of bronze doors he designed for Trinity Church in Manhattan, as well as numerous public monuments around the US and Canada.

Sadly, the fountain was not maintained, and when the roads were regraded a few years after its installation, it was left sitting 4 feet above the sidewalk level. In 1912 it was relocated to Cherokee Avenue at Ormond Street in Grant Park. It has been forgotten and neglected for the last 100 years. Pieces have been stolen and no one can recall a time when it operated.


Project Goals

The project goal is to restore the Erskine Memorial Fountain and the surrounding site elements to create a public place for all to enjoy. A plan and budget is currently being developed so that restoration can be done in phases, as funds become available. Specific goals include:


Restore the metal fountain, recast missing pieces, and develop a treatment plan to prevent further corrosion. Recreate the original water feature, ideally using reclaimed water.


Clean and treat the marble bench to prevent further erosion.


Address the marble foundation to prevent further settling and cracking.


Restore the granite walls (formerly an entrance to Grant Park), replace missing elements, repair the mortar, and repair the concrete terraces.


Collaborate with the Zoo to create a plan to restore access to the Lake Abana Overlook, which is currently fenced off, overgrown, and unmaintained. The new plan must include protections that ensure zoo security.


Develop a plan for site landscaping, hardscaping, and lighting.


Develop a fundraising plan that includes an endowment to ensure the fountain is maintained.


Friends of Erskine, Inc. was formed by a group of concerned neighbors who decided to take action to restore the Erskine Memorial Fountain. The group includes representatives from the Grant Park Conservancy, Grant Park Neighborhood Association, The Atlanta Preservation Center, and residents of the Grant Park Neighborhood.