Falling in Love with Friendship Fountain
The Floridian city of Jacksonville has a rich history and is filled with exciting things to see and do. One of the great monuments of the city and a popular attraction for visitors and residents alike is Friendship Fountain, an exceptionally large fountain found in St. Johns River Park, which some local residents affectionately call “Friendship Fountain Park”. The park itself is located at the western end of the Southbank Riverwalk and is the perfect place to rest after an enjoyable stroll along the bank of the city’s beautiful river. It’s a great spot to take pictures and hang out with friends; visitors and residents alike will quickly fall in love with Friendship Fountain.
The fountain was actually the largest in the world when it was originally built and opened in 1965. Designed by renowned local architect, Taylor Hardwick, the fountain has been an important part of the city’s heritage since its construction. It was initially able to blast an incredible 17,000 gallons of water ten stories into the air every single minute, making Friendship Fountain a truly record-breaking monument at the time of its inception. The fountain cost $1.7 million to create and was an incredible sight for anyone who visited Jacksonville in the sixties and seventies. Many visitors drove miles to see the world’s most impressive fountain
Unfortunately, over the years, a lack of care led to the fountain being gradually damaged by the elements. Attractions that are forced to remain outdoors, particularly in states like Florida that can be ravaged by hurricanes and tropical storms, are prone to corrosion and this is exactly what happened to Friendship Fountain. A refurbishment project took place in the mid-eighties and the fountain survived well until the turn of the millennium when it began to struggle once more. In fact, the attraction was even closed off several times between 2000 and 2011.
Various equipment failures and a lack of funds for the city of Jacksonville meant that the fountain didn’t receive the care it richly deserved. Fortunately for Friendship Fountain and the countless people who love it, the city organized another enormous renovation effort in 2011, pumping $3.2 million into the fountain, along with St. Johns River Park. All of the faulty parts were entirely repaired, including the various additional features added through the early years of the new millennium like colored light towers.
Friendship Fountain is a landmark like no other and stands today as a monument for the city of Jacksonville. It has a troubled past but has survived and come back even stronger. It is certainly one of the most impressive monuments that the city can boast of and still attracts visitors from all over the world. You too can undoubtedly fall in love with this impressive piece of architecture so stop by and visit the famous Friendship Fountain whenever you find yourself in the beautiful city of Jacksonville, Florida.