Latham-Ducel fountain
photo CC-A from Our Oakland

The Latham-Ducel Fountain is the centerpiece of Preservation Park. It's more popularly known as the Diana FountainThe fountain is cast iron, and was forged in Paris in the 1870s by Fonderie Ducel (the Ducel Foundry). It was originally on the Latham estate near Lake Merritt.

According to the Oakland Heritage Alliance newsletter from Spring 1983, 1 the fountain was moved to Preservation Park from a pocket park near the corner of San Pablo Avenue and West Grand Avenue. But it had a round-about way of getting there. A 1958 article shows it as the Fountain of Serenity at Knowland Park, home of the Oakland Zoo. It says the Latham-Glenn Mansion was purchased by Edgar Buttner and converted into the Senator Hotel. c.1951, Buttner sold the statue to Sidney Snow, director of the zoo. 2

According to Annalee Allen, after it was sold, it was temporarily used as a centerpiece for the Spring Garden Show. After the stint in Knowland Park, in 1964 it was moved to San Pablo and West Grand, 4 as the Daniel P. Collins Memorial Fountain. Collins had served as executive secretary to mayor Cliff Rishell and mayor John Houlihan before he died in an auto accident in 1962. 5

During its time as the Fountain of Serenity, "Serena" didn't always get the serenity message across. A young girl stared at the statue for a while, then exclaimed: "Mommy, look! The lady is holding an ice cream cone and her nightgown is falling off." 2

1958 at Knowland Park 21964 on San Pablo 5

Latham-Ducel fountain
photo CC-A from Our Oakland

Links and References

  1. Oakland Heritage Alliance NewSpring 1983
  2. Serena Is A Sermon In Stone Oakland Tribune August 31, 1958
  3. Fountain of Serenity A Bit of History blog
  4. Iron Goddess Watches Park by Annalee Allen Oakland Tribune June 8, 1997
  5. Collins Memorial Fountain Installed at Crossroads Oakland Tribune April 21, 1964