Jacob H. Schiff Fountain

Seward Park Fountain


The Schiff Fountain (1895), honoring public health advocate and philanthropist William Schiff and designed by distinguished architect Arnold W. Brunner, was moved here from nearby Rutgers Park in 1936. Turn-of-the-20th-century financier and philanthropist Jacob Schiff and American Jewish architect Arnold W. Brunner had a long and productive relationship, especially when it came to designing useful buildings to aid the material and cultural condition of New York City Jews. Brunner designed many charitable and educational structures funded all or in part by Schiff, and many of these were on the Lower East Side. Brunner especially made a mark on the small area around Rutgers Square located between Seward Park and the The (former) Forward Building.In 1894, Schiff and Brunner collaborated again when the philanthropist donated a fountain to the city to be installed at Rutgers Square. The city voted to accept the gift in November 1894. The Board of Aldermen voted to connect the fountain in August 1895. Though simple, the fountain supplied an unusual element of elegance in the neighborhood, at a public square better known as the meeting point for political demonstrations. A few years later, in 1909, the Seward Park branch of the Public Library (Babb, Cook & Welch, architects) was erected near-by, and this provided an appropriate palace-like background for the fountain. According to a report on the fountain from the New York City Department of Parks, Schiff "donated the fountain to the City, asking not for recognition of the deed, but only that it ‘be kept in proper condition so that the people of the Seventh Ward may have an opportunity to enjoy it.`

Dedication, 1895
Moved, 1936

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