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Remembering History in Fountain Square

One of my favorite works of art in the city is known as “Wishful Thinking“.  It’s located prominently on the edge of Interstate 65/70 which cuts through Fountain Square.  The sculpture contains three panels which tell the history of the neighborhood.

The panel that faces southwest displays a map of the former street grid, which was decimated by the urban freeway:

The other two panels contain photographs of the past and present in the neighborhood:


It is tough to tell, but in the third photo, the panel is starting to shift to its nighttime display of blue lights.

The representation of history doesn’t stop with the sculpture.  This is the representation of Bismark/Wyoming Street (the street name was changed, presumably after World War I).  I love how you can visualize the street heading in to the distance:

Lastly, there’s a display of addresses of displaced buildings:

The amazing thing in all this is that Fountain Square is actually quite lucky, as a high portion of the downtown interstate is raised above the city streets.  However, Virginia Avenue passes over the interstate, which presents less of a visual barrier between the neighborhood and Fletcher Place. And the best news of all in neighborhood now has tremendous momentum, which should continue with the southeast portion of the Cultural Trail being installed starting next year. With this artwork, we can reflect on where the neighborhood has been. And as nice bonus, evidence of where the neighborhood is heading is all around you.

4 Responses to “ “Remembering History in Fountain Square”

  1. ahow628 says:

    You missed getting a photo of all the bottles and other trash that people toss in the hollow part behind the three panels!

    I live on Virginia a little further north and I love this neighborhood. Hoping that the (former) BMV building gets picked up by Trader Joe’s or some other smaller grocery store.

    • Kirsten says:

      I have this small-grocery store dream for many unused or underused buildings in our urban core: the sad Krogers on 16th and formerly on 10th (but much love for Teacher’s Treasures – the current occupant), the former-grocery/now-Dollar Store on Delaware at 25th, any of the many gravel parking lots downtown, the old Marsh on east Washington…

  2. I didn’t notice the trash! Not cool…

  3. Tobie says:

    I miss the pioneer family that used to grace the fountain. When I first inquired
    About it I was told it would soon be back
    On public display. My recent inquiries have
    Not been given the courtesy of a response .

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