Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Renovated Fountain Makes a Splash in Detroit

James Scott Memorial Fountain with the Detroit skyline in the background
Detroit's Belle Isle State Park is a beautiful 982-acre park in the middle of the Detroit River. It offers numerous outdoor activities, including athletic fields and a beach, and indoor fun as well, with the Dossin Great Lakes Museum, Bell Isle Aquarium, and Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservancy.

The MacArthur Bridge connecting Belle Isle to mainland Detroit
One of the most beautiful spots on the island is the James Scott Memorial Fountain. Despite the abundance of water in Michigan, this famous Detroit landmark was often dry for the past several years. After significant renovations, it will flow freely every day this summer. The enormous fountain stands near the western end of Belle Isle and offers beautiful views of Downtown Detroit and Canada.

Scott Fountain
The center of the fountain is guarded by majestic lions
Cass Gilbert, who designed the U.S. Supreme Court and the Detroit Public Library Main Branch, designed the fountain, which was completed in 1925. The beautiful marble fountain stretches 510 feet across, and sculpted lions, turtles, dolphins, and human figures serve as its water spouts. In addition to repairing the fountain's plumbing, the recent renovations have included removing many of the stains on the white marble, allowing the fountain to reflect the sun as brightly as it did in 1925.

Lions, and turtles, and dolphins...oh my!
A large lagoon sits between the fountain and the western tip of the island, and the view of the Detroit skyline overlooking the lagoon is wonderful. One hundred cherry trees that were a gift from Japan also surround the lagoon with their beautiful flowers in the spring.

A view of the lagoon, the Detroit River, and Detroit's skyline from the fountain
A statute of a seated James Scott watches over the side of the fountain farthest from the lagoon. Children and adults often climb into Mr. Scott's lap, many of them not knowing that he was one of Detroit's most hated men. However, he had a lot of money, and left half a million dollars to the city for the purpose of building a statue of himself and fountain in his name. Time has probably healed whatever wounds he may have caused before his death in 1910. He did leave us this beautiful fountain, after all.

James Scott
Visiting Belle Isle

Visitors must have a state recreation passport on their vehicles to drive onto the island (pedestrians and bicycles can enter free of charge). Currently, there is no barrier to entry without a permit, so visitors could try to avoid the permit fee, but the Michigan State Police have a strong presence on the island and reportedly enforce the park's rules vigilantly. Recreation passports are available on the left just after crossing the MacArthur Bridge onto the island.

For more info, click here.

1 comment:

  1. See, these fountains and features are just the thing Detroit needs to make itself great again. It might not seem like it, but being great aesthetically is super important for the overall quality of a town or city.