Visitors to Duke Gardens encounter a stunning attraction soon after entering the Gothic gates -- a garden centerpiece that is actually more than a century old.
The Roney Fountain, installed in the center of the Mary Duke Biddle Rose Garden in spring 2011, originally served as a focal point at the entrance to Trinity College (now Duke's East Campus). Anne Roney, sister-in-law of Washington Duke, donated the fountain to Trinity College in Washington Duke's honor in 1897. Washington Duke was one of Trinity College's early benefactors, and Duke University was named in his honor.
The fountain fell into disrepair over the decades and was overshadowed by massive magnolia trees. Duke Gardens, meanwhile, was seeking a fountain. An early master plan for the Rose Garden had called for one, but it had never been built.
A bequest from the late Dr. J. Robert Teabeaut II (T' 45, M.D. '47) in honor of Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans funded the fountain's restoration. Semans is the granddaughter of Duke co-founder Benjamin N. Duke and Sarah P. Duke, the Gardens' namesake. The Mary Duke Biddle Foundation provided additional funding for the project.
"We at Duke Gardens are thrilled to be able to restore the Roney Fountain to a place of prominence on the Duke Campus," Duke Gardens executive director Bill LeFevre said, "and to honor the legacy of four generations of Duke women who helped make the campus what it is today."
5/11: Spring Revival