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Nostalgic Fountains Up And Flowing In Forest Park's Grand Basin

St. Louis visitors looking across the Forest Park Grand Basin toward the city’s art museum are being treated to a glimpse of what the area looked like a century ago in all of its 1904 World’s Fair glory. A distinctly turn - of - the - century look is apparent in the eight recently completed fountains that now grace the basin’s refilled and renovated lake. Designed and built by Hydro Dramatics, the fountains are modeled after those depicted in archival 1904 World’s Fair photographs.

Anne Gunn, Hydro Dramatics fountain consultant, explains that the fountains add much more than beauty to the site. “In addition to the eye-catching aesthetics of the spray patterns, the fountains also serve as a natural, environmentally safe and highly effective water-quality management tool,” Gunn says.

The Grand Basin fountains are located within the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Lake. Two large architectural fountains each feature center jets that propel water up to 50 feet high. Spouts from six additional fountains climb to 30 feet. Artistic spray rings with multiple nozzles surround each fountain. Mechanical and electrical equipment used to operate the fountains is located underground, in vaults adjacent to the Grand Basin.

“At full thrust, the system conveys a turnover of approximately 6,400 gallons per minute,” says Gunn. “These oxygen-filled droplets return to the surface, releasing the oxygen and creating additional wave action. This aeration process addresses a wide range of water-quality problems including algae buildup, aquatic weeds, bottom sludge, foul odors and insect infestation. The added bonus is greatly improved health and clarity for this once-tepid and stagnant lake.”

Forest Park's Grand Basin
photo by Robert C. Mitchell of Frank C. Mitchell Co.

 
 

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