Michigan Roadside Attractions: James Scott Memorial Fountain, Belle Isle
Michigan Roadside Attractions is a periodic feature on Travel the Mitten that will explore the many interesting things that can be found on the highways, byways and back roads of Michigan, ranging from the interesting to unusual.
Detroit’s Belle Isle Park features nearly 1,000 acres of both natural and man-made beauty in the middle of the Detroit River. It became a state park in 2014 and improvements continue to once again make it a destination for locals and tourists. The James Scott Memorial Fountain sits has stood on the island’s south end since 1925, and is a favorite stopping point for visitors thanks to its beautiful marble construction.
The fountain has a diameter of 510 feet and it sprays 125 feet into the air. Lions, fish, turtles and more are featured in this monument designed by architect Cass Gilbert and sculptor Herbert Adams. The main part of the fountain features four tiers, while the “waterfall” drops another five levels between sets of marble steps and then another five levels between the parking area and a small pond. Fountain Drive makes a one-way circle around this stunning monument, providing parking spaces for at least 20 cars.
The fountain is named for James Scott, a controversial businessman who left his estate to the city of Detroit when he passed in 1910 with the stipulation that a fountain honoring him be constructed with those funds. A statue of Scott sits on a marble base near the north of the fountain looking back at it.
The James Scott Memorial Fountain can be accessed via Fountain Dr. off of Sunset Dr. near the park’s entrance. Belle Isle park can be reached by taking E. Grand Blvd. and the MacArthur Bridge east from Jefferson Ave. Be sure to check out Belle Isle’s other attractions, including the Belle Isle Nature Zoo, a conservatory and aquarium, the Dossin Great Lakes Museum, a half-mile public swimming beach, the William Livingstone Memorial Light and more. Our list of 12 Things To See and Do on Belle Isle has more information. You’ll also find many statues and sculptures on the island, including the Alpheus Starkey Williams Statue on Central Ave.
Pokemon Go players will find the James Scott Memorial Fountain to be a hotspot for game activity, with five Pokestops accessible from the parking area.