James Scott Memorial Fountain

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Public Art Tour of Detroit/James Scott Memorial Fountain
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James Scott Memorial Fountain

The James Scott Memorial Fountain is a monument located in Belle Isle Park, in Detroit, Michigan. Designed by architect Cass Gilbert and sculptor Herbert Adams, the fountain was completed in 1925 at a cost of $500,000. The fountain honors the controversial James Scott, who left $200,000 to the City of Detroit for a fountain in tribute to himself.

History

Scott was left a sizable fortune by his father who invested in Detroit real estate. Scott was described by twentieth-century author W. Hawkins Ferry as a "vindictive, scurrilous misanthrope" who attempted to intimidate his business competitors and when this was unsuccessful, he filed suit. Perhaps for these reasons, Scott died in 1910 with no heirs or colleagues and he bequeathed his estate to the City of Detroit with the condition that the fountain include a life-sized bronze statue of him. Some accounts state that the will required that the statue be at the fountain's pinnacle.

Several community and religious leaders—including Bishop Charles D. Williams —spoke against accepting the bequest, saying that a person with Scott's reputation should not be immortalized in the city. Mayor Philip Breitmeyer and City Council President David Heineman urged accepting the gift, saying that the city shouldn't insult any of its citizens by refusing such a generous offer.

Design

The monument is located in Belle Isle Park, in Detroit, Michigan. Designed by architect Cass Gilbert and sculptor Herbert Adams, the marble fountain was completed in 1925 at a cost of $500,000. The lower bowl has a diameter of 510 ft and the central spray reaches 125 ft. The final design placed Scott's statue in inconspicuous spot behind the fountain.

*Information provided by Wikipedia

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