The Ashland Parks Foundation has launched a campaign to restore the historic Butler-Perozzi Fountain in Lithia Park.

The Ashland Parks Foundation has launched a campaign to restore the historic Butler-Perozzi Fountain in Lithia Park.

The foundation is seeking donations to rehabilitate Lithia Park's historic and picturesque fountain, which parks officials say is in need of an estimated $500,000 in repairs.

"We're going to strive to create awareness and support in the community," said foundation president Katharine Flanagan.

Parks Director Don Robertson said the structure that supports the fountain and the fountain's staircase, plumbing, drainage system and pool need to be rehabilitated or replaced.

The Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission hasn't decided the fountain's fate, but likely will take up the issue soon, Robertson said.

He said the commission has to examine whether it's better to restore the fountain, which has suffered vandalism and deterioration over the years, or replace it with a replica made of more durable materials.

"The Ashland Parks Foundation is working hard to find ways of offsetting the cost," Robertson said.

Flanagan said the fountain features prominently in Ashland's history — and in innumerable graduation, wedding and prom-night photos.

Early Ashland resident Domingo Perozzi, owner of the Ashland Creamery, and fellow businessman Gwin Butler purchased the Italian marble fountain at the 1915 Pan-American Exposition in San Francisco and donated it to parks system. It was made by Italian sculptor Antonio Frilli in Florence in the early 1900s and restored in the 1980s, according to the parks foundation.

People who would like to make a donation toward fountain repairs can contact the foundation at 541-488-5340 or send checks to Ashland Parks Foundation, 340 S. Pioneer St., Ashland OR 97520.

Donations can also be made online at www.AshlandParksFoundation.com.

Vickie Aldous is a reporter for the Ashland Daily Tidings. Reach her at 541-479-8199 or email vlaldous@yahoo.com.