10 Famous Fountains of the United States

A decorative fountain.
A decorative fountain.

A fountain is a piece of architecture which pours water into a basin or pool. Fountains are used for providing drinking water and also for decoration and celebration of their builders or famous persons within a given society. Fountains are used today to decorate parks and squares, for recreation, and to honor individuals and events, although fountains in the US no longer distribute drinking water and are purely for decorative purposes.

10. Scott Memorial Fountain - 1925

The Scott Memorial Fountain is located in Belle Isle Park, in Detroit, Michigan. It was built at the cost of US$500,000 in honor of James Scott, a local socialite. Scott credited US$ 200,000 of his fortune to the City of Detroit on condition that a fountain would be built in his tribute. The artists responsible for the Scott Memorial Fountain were Cass Gilbert and Herbert Adams. The fountain spans 510 feet across, sprays water as high as 125 feet and has 109 outlets of water in the shape of turtles, dolphins, human figures, and lions. Today, the Scott Memorial Fountain stands as one of the magnificent architectural sights of Detroit.

9. Buckingham Fountain - 1927

Buckingham Fountain is one of the world’s largest fountains and a major landmark in Chicago, Illinois. It is made of Georgia pink marble and contains 1.5 million gallons of water. The fountain is designed in a rococo wedding cake style and operates from the months of April to October. It represents Lake Michigan and has four sets of horses symbolizing the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin. The Buckingham Fountain was designed by Edward Bennett while the statutes created by a Frenchman called Marcel Loyau. It was donated by Kate Buckingham, in memory of Clarence Buckingham who was her brother. The construction of the fountain cost US$ 750,000, and its official name was Clarence Buckingham Memorial Fountain.

8. Bethesda Fountain - 1873

The Bethesda Foundation is located in the center of the Bethesda Terrace in New York’s Central Park. The fountain which was built in 1859-1864 had been dry for many decades before its restoration by the Central Park Conservancy between 1980 and 1981 in a bid to renovate the Central Park. The fountain was built by Emma Stebbins who was the first woman to receive a public commission for her artistic work in New York. The fountain is built in the midst of a pool and has a statue called the “Angel of The Waters.” It draws its story from the Bible in John chapter 5 where the angel stirs up the waters of the pool of Bethesda hence giving it healing powers. Beneath the statue which is made of a female winged angel are cherubs who symbolize temperance, purity, and health.

7. Fountains of Bellagio - 1998

The Fountains of Bellagio are situated in front of the Bellagio Resort which is located in Las Vegas, Nevada. The water feature has been choreographed to include light and music. The music choreography include songs such as “God Bless the USA" and “Viva Las Vegas” among others. The Fountains of Bellagio have been built on an artificial lake serviced by a freshwater well which was built decades ago. The fountains of water are spectacular and soar as high as 460 feet.

6. National World War II Memorial - 2004

The National World War II Memorial was built to commemorate the commitment and sacrifice of the American people during World War II. The memorial was built in honor of over 15 million military officers and more than 400,000 casualties of the war. The memorial contains a beautiful pool with water shooting high into the air. It also has a wall with 4,048 gold stars which symbolizes the sacrifice of over 400,000 Americans who paid the price of victory with their lives. The memorial is located at the 17th Street and Independence Avenue in Washington, DC and is open to the public 24 hours a day.

5. Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial - 1997

The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial was built in memory of the 32nd president of the United States, Franklin Roosevelt. He led the American people through challenging times such as the Great Depression and World War II. The memorial is made up of four outdoor rooms representing the four terms of office which Franklin Roosevelt held. The first room was built by Robert Graham and symbolizes his first term in office which was characterized by difficult economic times. The second room pointed to the president's second term in office and was created by George Segal. The room represents the Great Depression and includes inspiring words that Roosevelt gave to the people at “The Fireside Chat.” The third room represents Roosevelt’s third term in office which coincided with the World War II. The fourth room in the memorial was dedicated to the memory of Eleanor Roosevelt, the first lady and also to the death of President Franklin Roosevelt.

4. Rackham Memorial Fountain - 1939

The Rackham Memorial Fountain is also known as the Bear Fountain. The fountain is made of a large bowl supported on both sides by two standing bears. It also consists of seals, frogs and turtles and some granite putti outside the fountain. Funds that were used to build this fountain were contributed by Horace Rackham’s widow, Mary Rackham, to commemorate his connection with Detroit’s Zoological Commission. The fountain is located in the center of the Detroit Zoo at Woodward in Royal Oak. The sculptors of the Rackham Memorial Fountain were Corrado Parducci and Frederick Schnaple. It was completed in the year 1939, and the materials used in the fountain were bronze and granite.

3. Unisphere - 1964

The Unisphere is a sphere made of stainless steel, representation the earth. It was built at the center of a large, circular reflecting pool and has water-jet fountains around it. The Unisphere is located in the fourth largest park in New York called Flushing Meadows Park. The design was motivated by Robert Moses who was the president of the World’s Fair Corporation. The Unisphere was built to symbolize efforts towards global interdependence which was the theme of the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fairs. It was also created to celebrate the genesis of the space age. The three orbit rings on the Unisphere are said to represent Yuri Gagarin, John Glenn and Telstar who were the first man in space, first American to orbit the Earth and the first active communications satellite respectively.

2. Piazza d'Italia - 1978

The Piazza d’Italia fountain was designed by a famous architect called Charles Moore. The materials used to build the fountain were granite pavers and cobblestone. The Piazza d’Italia is located in New Orleans near the American Italian Renaissance Foundation Museum. It was built to signify the significant contributions of Italians to New Orleans. The Piazza d’Italia is a symbol of late Post-Modernism and stands to be one of the best artistic works of Charles Moore.

1. Pulitzer Fountain - 1916

The Pulitzer Fountain was designed by Karl Bitter and Thomas Hastings. It is 22 feet tall and is situated in Manhattan’s Grand Army Plaza in New York. The fountain is made up of six levels of water basins; the sixth basin is elevated higher than the rest and has a sculptor of Pamona, the goddess of abundance, standing on it. The funds for building the fountain were donated by Joseph Pulitzer who was a successful publisher at the time. He contributed US$ 50,000 to the fountain and wished that a fountain similar to the Place de la Concorde in Paris, France be built. On top of the fountain is a statue called “Pomona” with a basket of fruit in her arms. She depicts the goddess of abundance. The fountain was built to create cohesion within Central Park.


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