The City Of Tempe, Arizona: A Walking Tour Of Its Fountains

a walking tour of the fountains found in the dity of Tempe, Arizona.

Welcome to Walking Tour of Fountains in downtown Tempe, Arizona. Tempe is considered part of the Phoenix "Valley of the Sun" area, located south of Phoenix and west of Mesa. The fifth largest city in Arizona, Tempe is home to the Arizona State University (ASU) main campus. Old Town Tempe, the downtown area, is adjacent to ASU. Both ASU and the downtown area contain many beautiful fountains and today you'll get to experience several of them, including a pyramid-like four-part fountain, the artistic new wave fountains of downtown, and a few more traditional round style fountains.

We start our tour at on the Arizona State University main campus. ASU is the third largest university in the United States, serving approximately 49,700 students and located on University Drive and Mill Avenue in Tempe.

We'll start facing the front of the Memorial Union, in the center of campus. Although there is a fountain to the right of the Memorial Union (MU) building, we're going to make that our second fountain. To view the first fountain, go through the MU and exit through the north door.

Between the MU and the College of Business, you find four fountains. Three of the fountains connect to the fourth, sunken in a pleasant courtyard. The tall fountains of redbrick are tiered into steps giving a pyramid-like affect. A long canal runs from each of the outlying ones to the center, where you can rest on benches and enjoy the shade from the large trees that surround it.

Next, proceed between the College of Business buildings to Lemon Street, then west on Lemon Street back to Cady Mall. Turn to the south (right) to return to the Cady Mall fountain that you noticed earlier. It is a largish square pool fountain with several inviting tall plumes of water gracing its center. The outside edging is of off-white cement and the bottom is lined with natural stones. It is surrounded on each of its four sides with slightly curved cement benches overshadowed by large trees.

Now we can proceed south down Cady Mall past the Hayden Library. You notice on your left the huge underground entrance to the library. As you look down over the rail towards the huge staircase, you see a charming spigot fountain merrily filling a half circle well that adorns the right wall of the stairs. This fountain provides a babbling brook sound to sooth students as they take a break at the nearby picnic table.

Continue down Cady Mall until you get to the Social Science building. Enter the central courtyard of the building. Here you find a small rectangular fountain with three spraying plumes that accentuate the jungle-like atmosphere of the courtyard.

You might also stop by the University Club and linger by its traditional round fountain adorned with a two-tired font. Alternatively, you may choose to walk around campus and enjoy the many free museums and art displays. You can resume the Tempe fountain tour at the next stop at University and Mill.

We continue our tour of Tempe's fountains by continuing south towards University, then walking west on University. When you get to Mill, cross over to the southwest corner. Walk south between the Chase office building and PF Chang's China Bistro to the next treat on the walk, a unique fountain composed of several 20-25 foot shards of rock thrust through the broken pavement. Does this fountain suggest to you death or life, destruction and chaos or hopeful but rough beginnings? The water bubbles up through the broken earth and pours endlessly over the mossy slabs, providing the sound of rain hear over a running stream. Several faux boulders provide sit-upons, as do wrought iron benches facing each other conversationally.

Proceed southwesterly towards the Harkins Centerpoint Theater and you will find the "Jackrabbit" fountain. This natural-look fountain is surrounded by three outsized Jackrabbit bronze statues by Mark Rossi. Posed as "Resting", "Guard" and "Grooming" Rabbits, each rabbit has a small plaque warning us not to climb them; however, you can touch the statues.

The center of the fountain is the traditional round pool with a cluster of plumes of varying height. The pool spills into a pond, allowing you foot-dangling access if you wish. On the right and the left of the center fountain, the "pond" flows into side fountains covered by sidewalk paths that enhance the illusion of natural flowing water. The rightmost fountain contains plumes and gushing rivulets contrasting with the left side fountain's more quiet affect. Surrounding all three fountains are faux bounders as well as circular benches around small trees for sit-upons.

Proceed to the east again, through the Harkins Centerpoint shopping area. As you turn to the south, the walkway is dotted with eleven small square fountains. Their three feet high walls almost obscure small plumes of water. Ahead of us, to the west of the Coffee Plantation, we see a square fountain with a blue-tiled center adorned with plumes of varying heights. The fountain offers a cascading rush reminiscent of a powerful waterfall. In the summer, this fountain is intermittently surrounded by a cooling mist.

Cut over back to Mill and proceed south to Fifth Street. Take Fifth Street east to the Mission Palms hotel. Fronting Fifth Street is the entrance of the hotel, which is graced with a lovely large traditional round fountain. It contains a 20-25 foot two-tiered font with stylish leaves. This fountain has a peaceful bubbling stream affect.

Proceed back west along the sidewalk next to the hotel. You will find a smaller round fountain about six feet tall with an ornate one-tiered font decorated with nicely sculpted horses heads. Its slower cascade evokes a quieter brook experience, but is somewhat marred by the din of all the local activity. Walk to the south to the end of the hotel where there is an even smaller round side fountain. It is plainer and you can barely hear its trickle over the downtown traffic.

Walk back west to Mill and cross at the crosswalk over to Fourth Street to our last amazing fountain experience in Hayden Square. Hayden Square is named for Charles Trumball Hayden, an 1800s pioneer who is credited with the founding of Tempe.

This fountain is surrounded by a 3-4 foot brick wall planted with small trees and shrubs. The front entrance is a screened-in gazebo like structure. You can walk right into this round, sunken fountain which drains and fills itself throughout the day providing a musical rush of sound as the water floods down several stepped canals on each of four sides of the fountain.

At the lowest ebb, you can walk down the cement steps to the middle slab-tiered floor and over two wrought-iron circles right into the diamond-shaped platform at the center of the fountain. Speak aloud to hear the various changes in the sounds as you move through the fountain.

If the fountain is filling, you might walk around the top step, which contains a narrow stylized zigzag of a stream embedded in its surface. The Hayden Square fountain is one that has a different feel each time you visit.

This concludes our walking tour. There is a lot more to do and see in Tempe, so have fun!

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