Macombs Dam Park

Macombs Dam Fountain

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

Situated on a parcel of Macombs Dam Park across from Yankee Stadium, the Macombs Dam Fountain features a large Stony Creek granite basin adorned with carved Indiana limestone dolphins and a lion's head as the central water spout. Designed by Bronx Parks Chief Engineer Martin Schenck and landscape architect Arthur G. Waldreaon, the fountain was originally installed in 1910 at Jerome Avenue and 162nd Street, at a cost of $5,000. The Parks Department moved the fountain to its current position in 1936 when the approach to nearby Macombs Dam Bridge was constructed and the park had to be reconfigured; a granite base and surrounding granite wall were also added at this point. Water flowed from the fountain until the 1960s.

In 2006-2007 the terrace surrounding the fountain was reconstructed and the fountain restored through a City capital project. Prior to restoration, the fountain was not functioning and had been vandalized with graffiti. The stone was over-painted and deteriorated, with excessive loss of sculptural details. Erosion and vandalism had virtually obliterated the fountain’s most prominent feature, the lion’s head water spout.

The recent restoration repaired or replaced the fountain’s plumbing equipment, removed paint, graffiti and soiling, repointed and patched the masonry, and reconstructed sculptural elements. A new lion’s head was carved using historic photographs as the point of reference. The floral ornamentation on the rear basin was recreated based on similar fountain designs from the same era. The dolphins, though decayed, were left in place and preserved with structural repairs. Large areas of loss in the snouts were replaced with similar stone. In keeping with sensitive conservation practices, the conservators salvaged as much original stonework as possible, only intervening when the structural integrity or legibility of the fountain was severely compromised through its age. The goal was to preserve this historic fountain yet still reveal some evidence of the weathering that is a testament to its long and layered history.

Directions to Macombs Dam Park

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