Hidden Menlo: Where is this Secret Fountain?

by Linda Hubbard Gulker on September 24, 2009

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A French fountain, in full working order, right here in Menlo? We’re betting few know that it exists – and admit it was a bit surprising to come across on a recent morning outing. Where it is will remain a mystery for now, although we encourage all to set the record straight.

Here’s the one clue:  “Restored and dedicated in memory of Michael L. Belangie 1908-1974, MP councilman 1950-55, 1957-71, mayor 1953-54.”

Photo by Chris Gulker

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Scott Loftesness September 25, 2009 at 8:26 am

This helps re: the location – and provides some interesting history:

From: http://content.cdlib.org/view?docId=tf0h4n97ks&chunk.id=bioghist-1.8.3&brand=oac

But what he is remembered most fondly for is “the Fountain.” The Fountain , a replica of a fountain in Rome called “Neptune’s Family,” had been cast in the 1860s to grace the grounds of Thurlow Lodge in Menlo Park, the home of W. E. Barron. It survived a destructive fire in 1872, when the home was owned by Milton Latham. Later , the property, including the mansion, gatehouse, and fountain, were purchased by Timothy Hopkins, nephew of Mark Hopkins. When Menlo Park moved its Administrative Complex onto this land in the late 1960s, two relics of its former grandeur remained: the gatehouse, and the broken and rusty fountain, greatly in need of restoration.

The gatehouse was restored without much fuss, but Neptune’s Family remained in ruins. Belangie, struck by its beauty, vowed to save it from the breakers and see it restored, and for a number of years it sat forlornly in his backyard. Finally, his efforts to persuade the City that the Fountain’s historic value was such that the metal sculpture should be restored were successful. The sparkling fountain, with its plumbing repaired, and basking in a new coat of paint, was placed beneath an old oak tree near the gatehouse, and is still burbling away today (2000).

Mike Belangie, however, did not live to see the Fountain restored. He died in 1974 at the age of 69. But ten years later, the Fountain’s restoration was completed by the City, and in a ceremony held on July 4, 1984, its restoration was celebrated, with a plaque placed at the base of Neptune’s Family, dedicating it to Mike Belangie.


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