Sunday, 6 September 2009

Swann Memorial Fountain

Today reminds me of the day I was in Philly. I just love this B&W shot I took (with film) of the fountain. (I wrote about this before..remember?) I didn't know that little face had popped up until I developed the film. I was chatting with my husband and just took the shot. (we were talking about the 'crazy crazy' cab driver that had just dropped us off...oh boy..what a weirdo..) What a joy to see this little face; refreshed, happy. I feel sad that there is a 'swimming ban' now. I took this around 1994. It was a source of cooling off for all the homeless children in the area. (and there are loads of them)

The Swann Memorial Fountain is a fountain sculpture located in the center of Logan Circle in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. The fountain, by Alexander Stirling Calder designed with architect Wilson Eyre, memorializes Dr. Wilson Cary Swann, founder of the Philadelphia Fountain Society. The Society had been planning a memorial fountain in honor of its late president and founder. After agreeing that the fountain would become city property, the society was granted the site in the center of Logan Circle. Adapting the tradition of “river god” sculpture, Calder created large Native American figures to symbolize the area's major streams, the Delaware, the Schuylkill, and the Wissahickon. The young girl leaning on her side against an agitated, water-spouting swan represents the Wissahickon Creek; the mature woman holding the neck of a swan stands for the Schuylkill River; and the male figure, reaching above his head to grasp his bow as a large pike sprays water over him, symbolizes the Delaware River. Sculpted frogs and turtles spout water toward the 50-foot (15 m) geyser in the center, though typically the geyser only spouts 25 ft (8 m). The use of swans is a pun on Dr. Swann's name. Eyre designed the basin and the interlacing water jets, including the central geyser.
During warm months, swimming in the fountain is a long-standing Philadelphia tradition. In the summer of 2006, the City of Philadelphia began enforcing a swimming ban with a near constant security presence. This presence will taper off and disappear completely by 2009.

1 comment:

Live In Full Color said...

This is a beautiful fountain. I remember visiting Philly when I was an early teenager coming from a small town in the south and seeing the kids swimming in the water of this fountain. Families were set up laying on towels around it- like a true day at the beach. I had never been exposed to such urban life before! It made me love the resourcefulness of city living- I had forgotten that day until I read your post- funny, but it's probably one of the reasons why I grew up and landed in NYC!