The Spirit of the Ocean Fountain is a prominent architectural feature near the great arch of the Courthouse. Years of rain, environmental toxins and exposure had taken their toll on the delicate sandstone, and efforts to reinforce and repair the statues with various fillers had resulted in a badly deformed carving.
With a project team of 15 professionals, and almost a million dollars raised by the Santa Barbara Courthouse Legacy Foundation, the restorers located a quarry close to the original, cut large blocks from the sandstone, and transported them to the front lawn of the Courthouse to be publically and painstakingly hand carved using many of the original tools.
Completed by Nick Blantern and his team from Britishstone, this combination of ancient carving methods, combined with modern and computer assisted techniques resulted in an amazing replication of this beloved and historic fountain. Fundraising for this project took nearly 6 years, and would not have been possible without the support of Foundations and private donors in the Santa Barbara community.
Measuring stones to find the right size and quality
The sandstone was generously donated by Mr. and Mrs. Dick Wolf of Slippery Rock Ranch
Stones carved into blocks
Donor and volunteers gather before transport of blocks to the Courthouse
Blocks were transported from Slippery Rock Ranch to the Santa Barbara Courthouse
Specialty Crane donated their equipment and staff to help relocate stone blocks
Stone blocks arrive at the Courthouse
Stone blocks placed where they will be carved on the Courthouse lawn
Old Spirit moves
Old Spirit removed
Foam replicas were created to help carvers measure depth
Carving shop set up on the front Courthouse lawn
Stones coming to life as Nick and Nathan of British Stone check details
The late Greg Hind of the Hind Foundation generously donated more than $100,000 to complete the Spirit of the Ocean re-creation
Carving tent comes down
breathtaking new figures prior to installation
Torso and fish prior to installation
New tile is installed in the original color (Generously donated by NS Ceramic)
Community members, donors, volunteers and media gather for the new Spirit of the Ocean Fountain unveiling
Peggy Hayes unveils the new fountain
The newly completed Spirit of the Ocean Fountain