Samuel Francis Du Pont and authorized a statue of Du Pont to be erected in the circle to commemorate his service as a Rear Admiral during the Civil War. The statue, sculpted by Launt Thompson, was installed in 1884.
Construction of the circle was one of many lavish infrastructure improvements made by "Boss" Alexander Shepherd's Board of Public Works. Well-connected real estate developers were quick to buy up land around the circle and start creating a prestigious new residential enclave for the expanding city. Soon many grand mansions were built for the nouveau riche to flaunt their prosperity. In keeping with the posh residential theme, the circle itself was elaborately landscaped with 850 ornamental trees and flowering shrubs along with benches, water fountains, and exotic flower beds, as seen in this view from 1910.
In 1921, the current double-tiered white marble fountain, designed by noted sculptor Daniel Chester French, replaced the statue, which was moved to Rockford Park in Wilmington, Delaware.
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