When you think of downtown Detroit, a few items immediately flash to mind – Joe Louis’ fist on Jefferson Avenue, Campus Martius, the GMRENCEN, Cobo Center and, especially, Hart Plaza and The Spirit of Detroit.
Fittingly, the Spirit of Detroit and the Horace E. Dodge and Son Memorial Fountain, the fountain within Hart Plaza, are both celebrating anniversaries in 2018 – The Spirit of Detroit is turning 60 and the Horace E. Dodge and Son Memorial Fountain is ringing in its 40th anniversary.
The Spirit of Detroit
The Spirit of Detroit was commissioned in 1955 and dedicated on Sept. 23, 1958. In its left hand, the seated figure holds a bronze sphere emanating rays to symbolize God. In its right hand are a family group symbolizing human relationships. The statue, now iconic to the city of Detroit, is one of Detroit’s most easily recognizable landmarks and its likeness is frequently used to represent the city. The Spirit of Detroit even commonly gets behind Detroit sports teams, donning professional jerseys of the Tigers, Pistons, Red Wings and Lions if a team is in a championship series.
Horace E. Dodge and Son Memorial Fountain
The riverfront location where Antoine Laumet de la Mothe, Sieur de Cadillac disembarked the Detroit River to found Detroit is now known as Hart Plaza. The plaza, created in 1975 to serve as public common space and event space within the city, didn’t include the Horace E. Dodge and Son Memorial Fountain until 1978, the crown jewel to the newly completed Hart Plaza. Anna Thompson Dodge donated the funds for the fountain in memory of her husband and sons, who died in the 1920s, but not before they started a multimillion dollar automotive supplying company in Detroit.
The stainless-steel fountain is designed by Isamu Noguchi and is composed of two legs topped by a ring 30 feet above a circular, black granite pool. The fountain houses 300 jets and 300 lights and features advanced nozzle and lighting functions that can create different configurations based on the time of day or events in the city.
Iconic to Detroit
Since their inception 60 and 40 years ago, both landmarks are favored by residents and tourists alike, and we’re sure they’ll play important roles in Detroit’s resurgence. Alongside the iconic GMRENCEN, The Spirit of Detroit and the Horace E. Dodge and Son Memorial Fountain will continue to be a friendly event space, and source of pride, within the city.
What’s your favorite memory of either The Spirit of Detroit statue or the Horace E. Dodge and Son Memorial Fountain? Let us know in the comments!