Still Waters

Fountain of The Four Seasons Undergoes Preservation

Photo by Christopher Gannon

Fountain of the Four Seasons

THE “FOUNTAIN OF THE FOUR SEASONS” by Christian Petersen will be closed until later this fall. The iconic, 80-year-old Iowa State University landmark and traditional backdrop for many a graduation photo is undergoing a conservation project. The original maidens from the fountain will be placed into the University Museums’ permanent collection and replicas will be made to take their post outside the ISU Memorial Union.

The four maidens will be extracted from their concrete niches and, with the terra cotta fountain ring, crated and shipped to the Barre Sculpture Studios in Barre, Vermont. There, a carving artist will replicate the sculpture and seating ledges on the pool wall. Then, ISU Facilities Planning and Management will oversee a project to remove and replace the concrete fountain pool, which no longer is structurally sound. The new pool will be painted forest green—Petersen’s choice for the pool in 1941.

While all the new components should be in place by early next fall, water will start flowing again in April 2024. During restoration there will be a barricade placed around the fountain itself, along with signage to inform visitors of the fountain’s status.

The pool and fountain date back to 1937. Petersen’s limestone maidens and terra cotta ring were added in 1941 after the university artist-in-residence proposed the concept to President Charles Friley in 1940.