The Bartholdi Fountain is a monumental public fountain, designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, who later created the Statue of Liberty. The fountain was originally made for the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and is now located at the corner of Independence Avenue and First Street, SW, in the United States
Botanic Garden, on the grounds of the United States Capitol, in Washington D.C..
The fountain is composed of a series of vasques, or basins, supported by sculptures of classical figures. The cast iron is coated with bronze, stands thirty feet high, and weighs thirty thousand pounds. It stands in the center of a large circular marble pool.Three figures of women, standing on a triangle pedestal with an ornamental design of seas shells and three reptiles spouting water, support the lower cast iron vasque, which is adorned with a circle of twelve lamps.
In the center, three kneeling tritons support another, smaller and higher vasque. Water spouts from a crown at the top, cascades down into the smaller vasque, and then down into the larger vasque before spilling into the main basin. The cascade of water was illuminated by the gas lamps (later replaced with electric globes), making it one of the first monuments in Washington, D.C. to be lit at night, and therefore a popular evening destination in the 1880s.