Wednesday, July 21, 2021

The Fountains of Los Angeles

UPDATED - See Updated Content, following the Will Fountain below...

A couple of years ago, we were in a Midwest city that is renowned for its fountains. It's supposed to rival Rome with the number of fountains.  Well, we were hard pressed to find any. Maybe one fountain working and a few more that weren't.

"We seem to have more in our desert city of L.A.," I thought to myself.

Well, it's time to put my money where my mouth is. I'm going to start a catalog of all the fountains that I can find downtown in this hot city. Come back from time to time as we'll be updating this list with new additions.

ARTHUR J. WILL MEMORIAL FOUNTAIN - I'll start with my favorite fountain in downtown. It's a grand fountain that crowns the appropriately named Grand Park.  The Arthur Will Memorial Fountain (pictured at the top of this post).

Named after a 1950's era county administrative officer and built in 1966, the fountain recently got a big, expensive makeover as part of the building of Grand Park.

If you're adventurous, you can also kick off your shoes and wade around in this water play area next to the adjacent starbucks that was added to the fountain in that makeover.


Ranging a bit farther south than my usual walks, I came across a new park...Grand Hope Park...that featured a large water feature. This waterfall is part of that and can be seen near the park's entrance on Grand Avenue, just north of Olympic Boulevard and directly across from the Federal Reserve Bank.

Going the opposite direction, on the other side of the Hollywood Freeway  at Sunset and Figueroa is a fairly bland strip mall but it does feature this nice looking fountain on the corner.

In between the above two fountains, you'll find a trio of condo buildings just south of Hope and 1st Street with a large plaza in between. That's where you'll find this round fountain.

On the east side of Figueroa Street, between Wilshire Boulevard and 7th Street, they're building an 1,100 foot hotel. Across the street, at the corner of Wilshire and Fig, you'll find this spare, twin tower fountain.


Many local people around here can tell you about going to Chinatown when they were kids and throwing pennies into this "wishing well" fountain.  It's still there, not quite as colorful as I remember.

There's also this other version across the street in the older part of Chinatown.

At the corner of 5th and Flower, this bright fountain graces the courtyard of the City National Bank plaza, formerly ARCO Plaza.

On top of Bunker Hill, between the Bank of America tower and the YMCA, there's a large park area with this huge sunken pond with four waterfalls flowing into it.

Over on Figueroa, this waterfall wall sits on the back wall of the Original Pantry restaurant.

UPDATE - JULY 27, 2013

CITY HALL - I was originally going to update this as defunct, but in the last couple of weeks, city workers have brought it back to life. The Flint fountain sits on the south lawn of the Los Angeles City Hall.

Made of marble, it's had a few hard knocks as protestors and celebrators that frequently congregate here (most recently, the Occupy LA movement) have visited much damage on this pretty water feature.

Happily, it is now flowing again and in pristine condition.

UNION STATION - Downtown L.A.'s transit hub is full of fountains.  The one above is in the south patio where tables are set up. You can grab bite to eat at the adjacent cafeteria or one of the many food shops in the station and sit next to the colorful fountain.

There's also a nice koi pond a few feet away.

This large waterfall fountain is in the back of the station.

This unique water feature sits at the extreme northeast corner of the property at the corner of Chavez and Vignes Streets.

CENTRAL LIBRARY - Another great collection of water works, this is the largest. It's on the west side of the building facing Flower Street on the corner of 5th Street.

5th STREET STEPS - On the west side of the Library Tower (the nation's tallest office building west of the Mississippi), these steps provide a workout to climb up to the top of Bunker Hill. The little waterfall bisecting them has led to it being called "L.A.'s Spanish Steps."

WATERCOURT - At the top of Angel's Flight and Bunker Hill, the watercourt is all about H2O. There are many fountains here, large and small, including this shower-like waterfall in the quiet north court.

OLVERA STREET - Over at the city's birthplace is this 80-something year old fountain.

OLD PLAZA CHURCH - At the two century old church across from Olvera Street, this grotto waterfall makes for a meditative place to light a candle and say a prayer.

LAPD HEADQUARTERS - This understated waterfall marks the start of the terraced entranced gardens at the Police Headquarters on 1st Street, across from City Hall.

FEDERAL PLAZA - This fountain...and the attending artwork...has the distinction of being declared obscene by a federal judge. His ruling was overturned and the installation is still here for all to enjoy. Behind the Federal Building at 300 N. Los Angeles Street.

FORT MOORE (Defunct) - This fountain really made a statement. An 80 foot waterfall cascading over the hill to memorialize Mormon troops that built their garrison on top. Unfortunately, the city turned off the pump in the 1970's during a drought and it's been off ever since.

There is a plan to restore it but nothing has happened here, except for the occasional drug deal, for years.

WELLER COURT - This unnamed fountain in Weller Court, behind the Doubletree Hotel in Little Tokyo, sits in front of a monument to Astronaut Ellison Onizuka, who died in the Challenger explosion.

L.A. MALL - The mall has two fountains, one in each food court. This fountain sits in the south court...

...while this one pumps away in the north court. The mall sits underground and can be accessed from the plaza surrounding City Hall East, across the street from the main City Hall.

HALL OF RECORDS - One of the coolest fountains sits on Temple Street in front of the old Hall of Records building. It is very hard to capture in photos, but that is a relief map of all the water sources for the region. Each channel has a trickle of water running through it, eventually making its way to Southern California at the bottom before splashing into the large, reflecting pond resevoir.

OCHO GRILL - this small fountain sits in front of the restaurant on top of Bunker Hill on Grand Avenue.

MOCA - A pyramid of cascading water sits behind the plane wreck sculpture on the patio of the Museum of Contemporary Art.

This reflecting pool leads up to it.

THE MUSIC CENTER - Another very grand fountain is the dancing waters of the Music Center fountain.

There's no fence or barriers around it, feel free to play inside, get wet, and cool off.

DISNEY HALL - One of downtown's most stunning fountains is this Delft rose sitting behind the Disney Concert Hall. It's also very hidden. To find it, go to the extreme south or west edge of the property, climb two flights of stairs (there's an elevator at the west staircase for wheelchair users), and walk around to the garden behind the hall.

The water flows through the channels created by the rose's petals.

CITY HALL EAST (Defunct)-  In the plaza between City Hall East and City Hall South lies this star shaped fountain that, in happier days, would shoot out a very cooling mist. It has been turned off for over a year now.

Here is what it looked like when it was operable.

JAPANESE VILLAGE PLAZA - This meditative trickle fountain lies in the heart of Little Tokyo's most popular shopping mall.

SPRING STREET PARK - Downtown's newest park, between 4th and 5th Streets, has a section that looks like someone ran into the fence and left it bent. Actually, it's the park's fountain.

Copyright 2013 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved.


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