Uncle Wilber Fountain
Visit Acacia Park on any summer day and you’ll see children of all ages at play in this downtown landmark.
According to artists Bob and Kat Tudor, when they set out to create an art fountain, they “toured the country, looking at all sorts of fountains, as well as rivers, falls, and other natural bodies of water.” They then focused their efforts on designing a piece that was “inviting, whimsical, and somewhat unpredictable, like a waterfall.” Enter Uncle Wilber.
Seemingly a simple blue dome surrounded by water jets, this piece chimes to announce a surprise every quarter hour. The top rises ceremoniously 15 feet into the air to reveal a tuba playing musician and his pet monkey. After performing a short selection of original jazz works composed by Bob Tudor, Wilber slowly descends back into his hiding place at the base of the fountain.
With mechanics engineered by the St. Louis-based Hydro Dramatics, the inner workings of the fountain took two months to engineer and four months to build. Actual construction was done by Scenic Technologies in Las Vegas. The ceramic geological mosaic surrounding the fountain was designed and created by local artist Steve Wood.