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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Oakland in Alameda County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Latham Memorial Fountain Unveiled

 
 
Latham Memorial Fountain Unveiled Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, March 27, 2014
1. Latham Memorial Fountain Unveiled Marker
Inscription.  Edith Latham and her brother Milton had been gathering the memory of their parents in drawers, cabinets and living rooms until there was no longer space. Their need for a permanent storage site and longing to share the memories led them to imagine a memorial fountain in the center of Oakland, the city James and Henrietta Latham had pioneered. The children wrote a letter to Mayor Mott requesting his assistance in exchange for the resources required and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to guide the humanitarian representation of the Lathams into the future. The children then began sifting through their memories, boiling them on the stovetop, and pouring the reduced contents into large basins.
They boiled Mr. Latham’s letters from the US-Mexican war, documents from his brokerage business, and his love of local zoological gardens. They boiled the vegetarian cookbook Mrs. Latham authored, her watercolors of California, and the stories she told of the gold rush. They boiled their parent’s early accounts of Oakland, their home on 17th and Jackson, and their animal rights activism. Finally, the boiled their father’s death
Latham Memorial Fountain Unveiled Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, March 27, 2014
2. Latham Memorial Fountain Unveiled Marker
The marker is on the building wall between the two planter-boxed trees.
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while aboard a ship in 1876, their heartbroken expressions of their mother until her passing in 1909, and the routine answers Edith and Milton gave as to why neither one of them had ever gotten married. The water smelled of ink, compassion, and wrought iron until it was strained. Then it became clean drinking water that has the faint taste of memories, as water often does.
The morning the fountain arrived Mayor Mott admired its beauty and utility. There were bronze carvings of wheat and angels, four troughs of pink Maine granite, and drinking spouts for citizens, beasts and birds. Memory water for the fountain arrived by train from the children. The city integrated the liquid into the memorial’s system and all waited for the history to begin touring the streets from the mouths of current residents. On April 12, 1913 the Latham Memorial Fountain officially entered the landscape and the soft sounds of men and women, horses and birds sipping water concluded the dedication ceremony.

Block Gallery and the Downtown Oakland Association are pleased to present Latham Memorial Fountain Unveiled, a site-specific text installation by Kari Marboe. With a unique style, Marboe tells the story of how the fountain came to be in Latham Square using history form the Oakland Public Library. This work focuses on the structure of the memorial fountain artwork and how citizens
Latham Memorial Fountain image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, March 27, 2014
3. Latham Memorial Fountain
Erected
to the Memory of
James Marshall Latham
and
Henrietta Marshall Latham
as a tribute to their humanity

Presented to the city
of which they were earliest residents
by their children
under the auspices of
The Oakland Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Erected
March 1915
are preserved within the city.
This is a free public installation, opening November 1, 2013 and will be on display until April 2014.
 
Erected 2013 by Block Gallery and the Downtown Oakland Association.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, MusicSettlements & Settlers. A significant historical month for this entry is April 1929.
 
Location. 37° 48.338′ N, 122° 16.242′ W. Marker is in Oakland, California, in Alameda County. Marker is on Telegraph Avenue near Broadway, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1500 Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley CA 94705, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Uptown Saturday Night (a few steps from this marker); Crossroads (a few steps from this marker); General Strike! (a few steps from this marker); Latham Square (a few steps from this marker); The Lathams (a few steps from this marker); 1946 General Strike (within shouting distance of this marker); Oakland City Hall (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Site of College of California (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Oakland.
 
More about this marker. This marker is located across from the small triangular park where the Latham Memorial Fountain is located.
 
Also see . . .  Oakland Wiki link about metal thieves stealing portions of the fountain. In February 2012, thieves stole two of the statue’s four 200-lb.
Latham Memorial Fountain image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, March 27, 2014
4. Latham Memorial Fountain
bronze sculpted ornaments at the base of the fountain. (Submitted on October 13, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.) 
 
Latham Memorial Park image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, March 27, 2014
5. Latham Memorial Park
Latham Memorial Fountain showing 200 lb ornamentation at base of fountain. image. Click for full size.
© Google, 2010
6. Latham Memorial Fountain showing 200 lb ornamentation at base of fountain.
Two of the four ornaments at base of fountain were stolen in 2012. Compare this photo to other photos above.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 26, 2018. It was originally submitted on March 31, 2014, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 563 times since then and 16 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on March 31, 2014, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.   6. submitted on October 13, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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May. 14, 2021