Prismatic Electric Fountain Through the Years

Lighting systems and electricity can do wonders for a fountain. The beauty of a fountain’s architecture and design as well as its water mechanism can further be amplified with the use of right lighting. That was discovered by fountain developers, one of whom was F.W Darlington. He designed several electric fountains during his time and the one that stands out is the Prismatic Electric Fountain.

Prismatic Electric Fountain is located at Denver City, particularly at Ferril Lake. It was named as such because of the effect brought on by electricity and arc lights to the fountain’s illumination. It appears as if sunlight shines over the fountain as its light rays pass through a prism.

The fountain was dedicated to the city of Denver on May 30, 1908. It was a very big hit to the City Park Lake as the electric fountain featured lighting effects that have not been incorporated by any other fountain before. People were wowed by the dramatic changes in the patterns of water and the eleven columns of light that change color to the beat of the Denver Municipal Band.

Since its opening to the public, Prismatic Electric Fountain has attracted thousands of visitors. From 1909 to 1980, people listening to musical groups playing nearby the lake also take pleasure from the visual spectacle of the fountain. Fountain shows were held each year despite the many maintenance problems that arose. Later on, plumbing for two water displays was removed.

A lot of repair attempts were done. However, the deterioration of the fountain’s concrete, problems with the plumbing and electrical systems and the flooding of the vault in the lake were not solved. Because of these challenges, fountain shows were stopped. The electric fountain became nothing but a display of water being shot into the air. The brightness of the fountain at night vanished and was replaced by darkness as its power supply was cut off. The state of the fountain remained as that from 1981 to 2000.

Then, in 2001, a new pump station for the fountain was constructed. It ran and operated well for a period of time but problems with the strainer system, lights, valves and nozzles occurred. The fountain was shut down again because of lack of funds needed for the repair.

In April 2004, reconstruction plans for the fountain were discussed at the Department of Parks and Recreation between Larry Kerecman and Dick Gannon. Plans were reviewed and engineering, design and fieldwork teams were made to push the reconstruction project through.

Reconstruction efforts for the electric fountain went on until 2006. Because of loss of functionality and many years of wear and tear, the commission working on the fountain decided that it would be better to build a replacement fountain rather than to repair all the damaged and malfunctioning pieces of the fountain.

Starting on January 2007, a 20-month long project of constructing an accurate replica of Darlington’s fountain was brought to action. It was made by the partnership between the Department of Parks and recreation and Public Works Department.

It was in August 19, 2008 when the new Prismatic Electric Fountain was dedicated to the city. It was presented before a crowd of more than 700 people with the Denver Municipal Band providing the music of the event.