Horace E. Dodge and Son Memorial Fountain (Detroit, Michigan)

Horace E. Dodge and Son Fountain

The Horace E. Dodge and Son Memorial Fountain, most often called the Dodge Fountain, is located at the center of Hart Plaza along the riverfront in the city center of Detroit, Michigan. Dodge Fountain was designed in 1973 by Isamu Noguchi, the California born Japanese American artist, and was installed to in 1978. Like much of Noguchi’s artwork, the simple and elegant stands in contrast to its surroundings while simultaneously becoming an integral part of it. Constructed of a large steel ring supported by two legs over a shallow black granite pool, the memorial fountain not only honors the Dodge family, but their roots in, and love for the city of Detroit that made their lives, fame, and wealth possible.

Prior to the inclusion of the Horace E. Dodge and Son Memorial Fountain, the park, with its grey concrete and little more was seen by locals as a stark and bleak spot in the city.  To make the plaza more visitable and positively viewed by the city, Mayor Jerome Cavanagh and Martin Hayden, editor of the Detroit News started to approach wealthy locals for donations.  When they approached Anna Thompson Dodge and asked if she would consider contributing for a fountain, they were met with warm regards and she agreed if it could serve as a tribute to her deceased husband and son.

Even with the inclusion of the fountain, and other artwork at Hart Plaza, it has never really become a place that locals love. There have been over the decades several petitions and attempts by local politicians to revamp the park, but in a city that is struggling with other important things ranging from poverty to  homelessness, it may be a while still before the park gets the attention it so desperately needs.