Guide to Public Art


16 Tyler Davidson Fountain 1871
August von Kreling (1819-1876)
bronze, porphyry, granite, water
Fountain Square Plaza, East Fifth Street

This 43-foot fountain is the oldest downtown sculpture and has become the best known and loved symbol of Cincinnati. Water streams from the out-stretched hands of the 9-foot tall female figure representing the "Genius of Water." Below her, four adult figures dramatize the life-sustaining uses of water, four children illustrate the life-enhancing pleasures of water, and four relief panels depict the industrial uses of water. Four drinking spouts on the lower tier of the fountain once had communal cups for pedestrians to use. Local businessman Henry Probasco selected the fountain design from von Kreling's Munich studio and had it cast and erected as a memorial to Davidson, his deceased brother-in-law and business partner. Originally the fountain stood on an esplanade 30 feet south of its present location. In the late 1960's, as a part of the downtown redevelopment plan, the present plaza was created with the fountain as its centerpiece. In 1971, for its 100th anniversary, the fountain was repaired and re-dedicated.


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