In the midst of the Depression, Fort Collins created an Art Deco utility building with classic WPA landscaping. The idea was to make the new municipal power plant (430 N. College) a grand northern entrance to the city.
Smoke stacks and all.
That’s why today few people get to enjoy the most bitchen piece of art we own — the Terra Cotta fountain. Purchased for City Park, it landed at the Power Plant grounds instead. Then again, maybe that’s also why it’s survived to be our oldest sculpture outside of Grandview Cemetery.
The following text is from the Smithsonian Art Inventories Catalog. The photos are mine.
Fort Collins’ Terra Cotta Fountain
Built 1934. Installed 1936.
The fountain is owned by the City of Fort Collins and is located at Fort Collins Old Power Plant, which the city has leased on a long-term basis to Colorado State University.
The fountain was created through the Works Progress Administration, and was originally intended for Denver’s City Park, but was rejected by the Denver Art Board.
It was then acquired by the City of Fort Collins for its City Park, but the city’s power plant management negotiated to have the fountain installed on the grounds of the city’s power plant instead.
… that spout water, which splashes down over four gargoyles positioned around the base of the obelisk.
Around the rim of the fountain basin are eight scrolls with nozzles that spout water toward the obelisk in the center.
Both the Fort Collins Old Power Plant and the fountain hold local historic landmark status.
I have always been curious about that structure, and now I know it IS a fountain! Cool! I didn’t think we had any. I couldn’t agree with you more about its bitchenness. It’s incredible! Thank you for answering a question I have had for many many years. Let’s see–what else do I want to know about around here?!
Martha, you’re welcome. And if you think of something else–I love reader suggestions (This topic was suggested by 3D Sound).
Thanks for commenting and for letting me know you’re out there!
I love that fountain and make a point to look for it if I’m ever headed north.
I have a suggestion for you… Lost Dormitories. I lived in Green Hall the last two years that it was up, and I also worked there when it became an office building. I had always hoped to bring my kids through the dorm by my old room, but now I show them the parking spaces where my room way. ;)
Somewhere, while browsing this site, I saw a photo of a restaurant in Ault that had been hit by a semi truck. I had just written a paragraph about one of the incarnations of that restaurant that I had to throw out of a composition I was writing.
Here it is.
I remember enjoying grebel (German deep-fried pastries that taste like to doughnuts) in Ault after early spring hikes in the Pawnee grasslands. At least one car would have turned back before the hike after some wannabe hikers found they could barely stand up in the cold wind at the trailhead. The rest of us would hike fast, trying in vain to keep warm. At noon we were too chilled to stop more than five minutes, so on the way home to Fort Collins we treated ourselves to a second lunch at highways 14 and 85. I remember stopping there during the 1970s and the 1990s. Bags of grebel were sold at the counter. I also remember an amazing variety of seating all upholstered in 1960s orange plastic. Some of the seats looked like they had been rescued from other restaurants. Was it stools, booths and chairs?
[…] WPA projects that are now local historic landmarks. You can read more about the fountain at the “Lost Fort Collins” […]
According to the Fort Collins History Connection: http://history.fcgov.com/archive/anecdotes/anecdotes5.php
“…It was a provision of the WPA, that machinery couldn’t be used when manpower would suffice, so the new [sewer] line [c. 1930’s] was built with all hand labor except at the very deepest part. There were several other WPA projects in town, such as the covering of the ‘Town Ditch,’ now called the ‘Arthur Ditch,’ the Golf Course, City Park Nine and many curb and gutter projects…”
[…] Lost Fort Collins post about the WPA Fountain at the old Fort Collins Power Plant. Also a post by Cat, here’s one on the Poudre Valley Creamery Building. I sure miss […]
[…] said that the fountain is “the most bitchen piece of art we own.” In the intro to her post on the fountain, she summarized its sad state, “Rejected by Denver, ‘negotiated’ away from City […]