Nov 19, 2009 5:51 PM | 4
When this blog began I thought an article on the successive fountains of Grand Army Plaza would be a good idea--but found I had nothing to add to the section in the Wikipedia article on same. Well, finally I do have a little something new to add to the story. This recently acquired photograph looking southeast across the Plaza shows the circular pipes in the empty fountain basin, with the reservoir tower in the background. Just below the tower you can see hoardings around the site of the Central Library, on which my trusty loupe shows a sign reading "To the Museum." This photograph was taken on June 26 1914 at 3:10 p.m. by photographers of the Public Service Commission only months before the site was excavated for the IRT subway construction, destroying the fountain completely.
There are not too many pictures of the Darlington fountain out there. The fuzzy black and white images in the Architectural Annual of 1900 give no idea of the beauty that attracted crowds to spend the evening watching the display of color and light. On opening night it is reported that 100,000 spectators gathered on the Plaza and the berms surrounding it. In fact, if anyone has a color postcard of the fountain we would love to see it. The Bailey Fountain currently occupying the site creates its effects differently, through dramatic sculptural forms complemented by powerful arcking jets. City Park in Denver Colorado has a Darlington fountain that was renovated in 2008, so I am borrowing it to give an idea of how Grand Army Plaza might have looked at night during the short but illustrious lifetime of our own Darlington Electric Fountain.
Photograph by kind permission of Atlantic Fountains