Mary Schenley Memorial Fountain

Mary Schenley Memorial Fountain
Mary Schenley Memorial Fountain
The Mary Schenley Memorial Fountain in front of the Frick Fine Arts Building
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Coordinates: 40°26′31.18″N 79°57′06.82″W / 40.4419944°N 79.9518944°W / 40.4419944; -79.9518944Coordinates: 40°26′31.18″N 79°57′06.82″W / 40.4419944°N 79.9518944°W / 40.4419944; -79.9518944
Area: Schenley Farms Historic District
Built: 1918
Architect: Victor David Brenner
Governing body: City of Pittsburgh
Part of: Schenley Farms Historic District (#83002213)
Added to NRHP: July 22, 1983[1]

The Mary Schenley Memorial Fountain, also known as A Song to Nature, is a 1918 landmark public sculpture in bronze and granite by Victor David Brenner. It sits in Schenley Plaza at the entrance to Schenley Park and directly in front of the University of Pittsburgh's Frick Fine Arts Building in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States. The fountain is designated as a contributing property to the Schenley Farms Historic District.[2]

The work of art comprises two major figures: a reclining Pan, the Greek god of shepherds, and above him a female singer playing a lyre. From crevices along the fountain's rim four turtles spew water into the basin. An inscription on the pedestal reads, "A Song of Nature, Pan the Earth God Answers to the Harmony and Magic Tones Sung to the Lyre by Sweet Humanity." The basin of the fountain is 15 feet high, above which the figures rise another 15 feet.

The fountain honors Mary Schenley. In 1889, after intensive lobbying by Edward Manning Bigelow, director of parks for the City of Pittsburgh, Schenley donated the land for the park named in her honor. Upon her death, Pittsburgh City Council sponsored a national competition for the memorial. The judges selected this design by Brenner, who is famous today for his design of the Lincoln cent, which is still in circulation.

In June 2008, restoration efforts were begun that include repairs, cleaning, plumbing, paving, and landscaping. A gift from the Benter Foundation will provide lighting for the fountain and plaza. The restoration is expected to be completed by October 2008.[3]


  • Gay, Vernon and Marilyn Evert (1983). Discovering Pittsburgh's Sculpture. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. ISBN 0-8229-3467-1. 

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