THE "DANDELION" FOUNTAIN
The Berger Fountain, also known as the “dandelion” fountain, is one of the best known landmarks in Minneapolis’ Loring Park, and one of my favorites in the city. However, the fountain, a gift from Ben Bergman, has had an interesting and troubled history.
Bergman, immigrated to the United States from Poland at the age of sixteen. He began working as a vendor on various Minneapolis railroads, and eventually rose to become the owner of the Minneapolis Lakers basketball team, the Minneapolis Millers Hockey team, Schiek’s café, and a string of movie theaters. He would also eventually serve on the Minneapolis Park Board.
While traveling in Australia in 1961, he saw a fountain in Sydney that he fell in love with. So much so that he hired the designer to make one for Minneapolis. In 1969, when he announced his plans to gift the city with the fountain, he had no idea how difficult – and political – it would be to find a site to build it.
Originally it was to be built on property near the Walker Art Center, but the Walker (which hoped to create a sculpture garden on that land) fought it, and was successfully able to block its construction on that site. Eventually it was decided that the fountain would be built in Loring Park.
Although, it has proven at times costly to maintain and repair over the years, it has become a beloved icon and symbol of the Loring Park community, and is a frequent background, for wedding, fashion, tourist photos. It’s so loved by the neighborhood that citizens of that community help raise funds for its upkeep.
While this fountain has had an interesting history, today it is definitely loved and treasured by the many visitors to Loring Park, and by the residents of its neighboring community.
***Are there certain fountains that you love?