Gardening News

Duke Gardens Restores Historic Fountain

Duke University received Preservation North Carolina’s highest honor for restoring the historic Roney Fountain that now sits near the entrance to Sarah P. Duke Gardens. The Minnette C. Duffy Landscape Preservation Award recognizes preservation, restoration or maintenance of landscapes, gardens, streetscapes or grounds related to historic structures.

Roney fountainThe Roney Fountain was originally installed in 1901 at Trinity College, which is now Duke’s East Campus. Little remained of the fountain in recent decades. Its crowning glory, a crane that spouted water, was long gone, along with other features. And massive magnolias had grown to obscure it.

Duke Gardens, meanwhile, was seeking a fountain. An early master plan for the Rose Garden had called for one, but it had never been built. After languishing in disrepair for many years, the fountain was restored using molds found from the original design, and moved to the center of Duke Gardens’ newly redesigned Mary Duke Biddle Rose Garden. Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans is the granddaughter of Sarah P. Duke, the Gardens’ namesake.

Funding for the restoration came from numerous donors, including the late Dr. J. Robert Teabeaut II, the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, the Thomas S. Kenan Foundation, the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust, and many others.