The Fountain of Eternal Life, Cleveland, Ohio
Set within a placid and passive pedestrian space in the heart of Cleveland is “The Fountain of Eternal Life”, a nearly 50-foot tall dynamic sculpture commemorating the region’s war dead.
Variously referred to locally as “Peace Arising from the Flames of War” or simply The War Memorial, this monument occupies a central position within an enclosing pool, ringing fountain sprays, and the grass-framed plazas of Mall A. Bounded by St. Clair Avenue, Rockwell Avenue, West Mall Avenue and the grounds of the Cleveland Board of Education, Mall A sits atop an underground parking garage that serves the adjacent Key Center, comprised of Key Tower, The Marriott at Key Center and the historic Society for Savings Building.
Measuring 46 feet from pool surface to the fingers of it’s outstretched right hand, the central sculpture of the monument represents man, swathed in the flames of conflict and strife, arising from a tangled sphere of the world’s prejudices, hatreds and superstitions. The reaching figure faces Lake Erie down the considerable length of Mall C, it’s upturned face, arching back, and strenuous lunging grasp seeking eternal peace. Additional carvings of granite set within the fountain pool to the four sides of the primary figure represent the various civilizations and cultures of the world.
“The Fountain of Eternal Life” was sculpted by Marshall Fredericks, a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Art, and was initially dedicated in the late spring of 1964. Initially funded by donations from local citizens and civic organizations — and heavily promoted by The Cleveland Press, then Cleveland’s daily afternoon newspaper — the sculpture initially bore the names of several thousand area military personnel who had died in World War II and the Korean War. These were etched into bronze panels applied to the granite perimeter of the fountain pool.
The monument has since been rededicated twice, first in 1991, and again in 2004. Those rededications commemorate the addition of a substantial number of war dead from both previous and later armed conflicts. “The Fountain of Eternal Life” is now dedicated to 5,516 Cleveland-area veteran casualties of The Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II, The Korean Conflict, the Viet Nam War, and Gulf Wars I and II.
Enjoy the broad green expanse of downtown Cleveland's Malls A, B and C.
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