In a changing cultural landscape, it's sometimes hard to find relics of old. Luckily, a piece of San Diego history remains preserved through the Broadway Fountain, also known as the Revivalist Fountain, Wilde Fountain or Irving Gill's Fountain. The Broadway Fountain was built in the middle of Horton Plaza in 1910 by designer Irving Gill. He modeled it after the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates, which drew upon Greek architecture, and combined it with a more modern design. His engraving on the frieze above the fountain columns reads, "Broadway Fountain for the People."
The Broadway Fountain has stood for over a century. Even as the downtown area has grown around it, the landmark has stood as a timeless piece of San Diego itself. The Horton Plaza was named a historic landmark by the City of San Diego in 1971, making it a protected treasure of immeasurable worth. The Broadway Fountain was one of the first public monuments in the US to use colored lighting in water. It is also the first recorded item in San Diego's civic art collection. This makes the fountain a landmark in innovation and changing cityscape design.
Over the years, the fountain has gone through numerous changes. After a period of vandalism and neglect, it has since been renovated and used once again by the city. Over a million dollars have been put into the most recent renovations. At one hundred and nine years old, the fountain has been refitted with new LED lighting, electrical systems, and plumbing. Come visit The Broadway Fountain and be transported back in time.
Cover Image: "Broadway Fountain" by Jim Epler via Flickr.