My name is Xavier Cunningham. I am a high school Dreamer from the Colorado I Have a Dream program and I have grown up watching Stapleton develop as a community. I didn’t know about a lot of the great things in Stapleton, yet I have learned many great and surprising discoveries; and hope to tell you about these unique places, through my eyes, in this blog series called “Did You Know?”
The people of Stapleton enjoy many aspects of the area, from the huge variety of parks to the many pieces of public artwork thoughtfully scattered around. And although these amazing things exist for enjoyment, they are more than just random contributions of delight. Every single park and piece of public art has a specific story, purpose, and/or theme that most visitors aren’t aware of. The purpose of “Did You Know?” is to share a little of what I’ve observed about these places.
Introducing the first story in the “Did You Know?” series – The symbolic story and purpose behind one of Stapleton’s most popular piece of art.
Located on 29th Ave., between the retail district and “the green”, is a great place called Founders Fountain (formerly named West Crescent Fountain). It is a beautiful structure made of granite and sandstone meant as a public meeting space for the community. The fountain has done a great job of gathering visitors and residents, as it is always full of people meeting, talking, and grabbing a bite to eat. Even little ones take a little dip in the water features during the summer months.
What many don’t know is that, although it was meant as a public meeting place, it has a lot more thought, meaning, and symbolism to it. The entirety of the piece was built to reflect the journey water takes, from the mountains, to the valleys and canyons, to the planes and aquifers that the people of Colorado have used as a vital source of water. And if you really look closely, you can see what I mean. The granite dome fountain, with water flowing down all the bumps and curves of the structure, represents Colorado’s grand mountains. The twisty vortex represents the process of the water being “deposited” into Colorado’s aquifers. The stone design and the sandstone columns in the middle represent the rivers and the sandstone valley and canyons that the river carves on its journey. The stone river also branches off to the north and south as a representation of the rivers flowing into the plains where they served as our water sources.
Of course, the community has adopted their own purposes for the area. For example, I was visiting the area myself and I spotted a small boy falling asleep on top of the sandstone structure with the founders green sign and thought it was the funniest thing. I also found out, that the artists, Andy Dufford and Christian Muller, didn’t intend for the fountains to be used as a play structure, but it seems to have turned out that way; a tradition that the community has adopted.
Now that you know a little about Founders Fountain, grab some friends or family and go check it out. Show them the connection, explain its story, maybe get something to eat, and adopt your own traditions.