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The Genius of Water was a tribute to the importance of water in the development of the city of Cincinnati commissioned by Henry Probasco as a tribute to his brother-in-law and business partner Tyler Davidson. The men became wealthy from their Cincinnati-based hardware stores and were grateful to the city of Cincinnati. The Ohio River played a significant part in developing the country and the commerce of the country. The fountain is a tribute to the Ohio River and the significance or importance of water. The fountain was dedicated in October of 1871 and features drinking fountains at the base. The fountain is inscribed with the words "To the People of Cincinnati" and is one of the most beautiful fountains in the world. The fountain is a symbol of Cincinnati and is nicknamed "The Lady." A miniature replica fountain is on display at the Cincinnati Art Museum


  • This is a view of the fountain before renovations were made and the fountain was moved.
  • This is a close-up view of the boy playing with the snake. It signifies the pleasures of water.
  • This is a photo of the fountain in 1906. As you can see, it is very pretty and the people of Cincinnati are enjoying it,
  • This is an early scene of downtown Cincinnati. If you look closely you can see the fountain in the background.
  • This is a photo taken in 1928 showing the fountain in the background.

The fountain is made of cannon bronze and features a green granite base. The fountain was cast in Europe and shipped to Cincinnati in separate sections. The fountain was made with about 24 short tons of bronze and 85 short tons of granite.

In the 1960s Fountain Square was redone and the fountain was moved so that it faced west. It had initially faced the east as a tribute to all the citizens who came from Europe.

The fountain has had renovations over the years. The first renovation marked the 100 year anniversary of the fountain. It was renovated and refurbished again in 1999. In 2005 the fountain was moved to the center of Fountain Square. The entire square was greatly improved with the addition of an ice skating rink and four different stages. It re-opened on October 14, 2006 with a lot of fanfare. There was a ceremony that included food, beer, fireworks, and music.

Mr. Probasco travelled to Munich, Germany to find an artist to build his dream fountain. The artist was Ferdinand von Miller. The drinking fountains that were requested by Mr. Probasco were designed by the sons of von Miller. They were named Ferdinand and Fritz. The fountain has been documented in the National Register of Historic Places.

Tyler Davidson Fountain-Genius of Water

5th Street

Cincinnati, Ohio 45202

 

The Genius of Water was a tribute to the importance of water in the development of the city of Cincinnati commissioned by Henry Probasco as a tribute to his brother-in-law and business partner Tyler Davidson. The men became wealthy from their Cincinnati based hardware stores and were grateful to the city of Cincinnati.  The Ohio River played a significant part in developing the country and the commerce of the country. The fountain is a tribute to the Ohio River and the significance or importance of water. The fountain was dedicated in October of 1871 and features drinking fountains at the base. The fountain is inscribed with the words "To the People of Cincinnati" and is one of the most beautiful fountains in the world. The fountain is a symbol of Cincinnati and is nicknamed "The Lady". A miniature replica fountain is on display at the Cincinnati Art Museum.

The fountain is always on display in Fountain Square in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio but the water is turned off in the winter months. The water is turned on again on in warmer weather when the Cincinnati Reds take the field.

Fountain Construction

The fountain is made of cannon bronze and features a green granite base. The fountain was cast in Europe and shipped to Cincinnati in separate sections. The fountain was made with about 24 short tons of bronze and 85 short tons of granite.

In the 1960s Fountain Square was redone and the fountain was moved so that it faced west. It had initially faced the east as a tribute to all the citizens who came from Europe.

The fountain has had renovations over the years. The first renovation marked the 100 year anniversary of the fountain. It was renovated and refurbished again in 1999. In 2005 the fountain was moved to the center of Fountain Square. The entire square was greatly improved with the addition of an ice skating rink and four different stages. It re-opened on October 14, 2006 with a lot of fanfare. There was a ceremony that included food, beer, fireworks, and music.

Artist

Mr. Probasco travelled to Munich, Germany to find an artist to build his dream fountain. The artist was Ferdinand von Miller. The drinking fountains that were requested by Mr. Probasco were designed by the sons of von Miller. They were named Ferdinand and Fritz. The fountain has been documented in the National Register of Historic Places.

 

Symbolism in the Fountain

The fountain has an overall theme of the importance of water and each of the sections has a different theme regarding water. The fountain's pedestal signifies the four main uses of water (in 1871). The uses were steam, water for power, water to navigate through, and fisheries.

The use of steam engine for a trip hammer used by ironworkers is depicted in one scene. Water for power is depicted with a watermill and peasants carrying corn to the mill. A steamship represents navigation and is depicted with a crowd of well-wishers waving to the ship as it departs the city. A group of fishermen and children symbolize the city's fisheries while dockworkers symobolize industry.

The central figure of the fountain is "The Lady". She is standing upon a giant shaft. The shaft is decorated at the top with intertwining vines and foliage. There are several figures around the base of the shaft each with a significant meaning. They are a workman, a farmer, a young girl and an old man, and a mother and child.

The workman is begging for water to put out a fire on the roof. The farmer is imploring for rain due to drought. The young girl is giving the old man on crutches a drink of water. The mother is trying to make the young boy bathe. The lady is gently dropping water on the people.

The pleasures of water are represented with four outer figures. Each of these figures is working drinking fountains. Each drinking fountain has a nude boy with different animals. One is a boy on the back of a turtle. One boy is riding a dolphin. One boy is playing with ducks. One boy is playing with a snake. The fountain is a masterpiece and is quite beautiful, especially at night. 


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