Best Water Feature
The Fountain of Light and Water
Bartholdi Park, 245 First St. SW
A towering stowaway from the gilded age, the Fountain of Light and Water presides over a corner of the U.S. Botanic Garden that’s hemmed in by major thoroughfares and fortresses of federal bureaucracy. Ignore the traffic noise and gaze upon the trio of graceful Grecian maidens who support the upper tiers of the fountain. At the very top, a burbling crown sends water cascading to the basin below the maidens’ feet. Fish and turtles expel additional sprays of water that are illuminated at night by lanterns that predate electricity — once run on gas, they have since been fitted with energy-efficient bulbs. Bought for half its estimated value by the federal government in 1877, the fountain was designed by French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi (the namesake of the pocket park in which it sits), who’s best known for designing a lil’ lady named the Statue of Liberty.
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