The Charles E. Brooks Memorial Fountain is a landmark in Marshall, Michigan, at the center of the traffic circle where Michigan and Kalamazoo Avenues intersect.
The site of the fountain and the history of the park goes back to the founding of Marshall and when it was two separate hamlets, called the Upper Village and the Lower Village: the “upper” centered around the city’s east end park and was where the earliest settlements and businesses appeared, and the “lower” was the site of the first Calhoun County Courthouse (1837-71). A stake was planted in the ground to mark the center of the fledging county’s new courthouse. It remained in the ground when the building was finally built in 1837 and again found in 1929 when the site was prepared for the fountain. The site of the stake now serves as the exact center of the fountain.
After the courthouse was removed in 1876 the city erected a bandstand which remained at that site (1876-c.1885). A small pool was maintained at the park from 1885 until 1929: “At one time there were several sturgeons in the pool and in 1909 the City Council voted to throw a log in the park pool for the turtles.”
On July 3, 1930, during Marshall's Centennial Celebration, former mayor (1925-31) and philanthropist Harold Craig Brooks (1885-1978) presented the city with the fountain in memory of his father, merchant C. E. Brooks (1843-1913). Built at the center of West End Park, the western entrance to downtown Marshall, the fountain was designed by architect Howard F. Young as a Greek Revival structure with Doric columns, inspired by the Temple of Love at the estate of Marie Antoinette in the Palace of Versailles. The fountain displayed ninety-six various combinations of color and water effects within a ten-minute cycle and was illuminated by thirty-five 1,000-watt colored projectors.
In the 1950s the Michigan Department of Transportation attempted to remove the fountain to allow for better flow of traffic but citizens blocked this plan. By 1976 the fountain was in need of repair and the city’s Bicentennial Committee undertook a complete restoration. The 91-year-old Harold Brooks was on hand for the July 4, 1976, re-dedication ceremony.
A second restoration was completed in 2009 that replaced the 1000-watt submersible bulbs with LED lights and better protected its surfaces.
- Lewis Barnavelt discovers a similar-looking fountain when he moves to New Zebedee to live with his uncle, Jonathan.