Merrill Fountain – Detroit, Michigan - Atlas Obscura

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Merrill Fountain

Palmer Park

This elaborately-carved white marble fountain was built to stand outside the Detroit Opera House. 


The Merrill Fountain sits in the middle of Palmer Park in Detroit, Michigan. Built in 1901, the fountain once occupied a place of honor in front of the old Opera House. Though the Detroit Opera House is long gone, its stunning white marble fountain remains.   

Palmer Park is located at the corner of Merrill Plaisance Street and Second Avenue.  The park is home not only to the fountain,  but also to a public golf course tennis courts, a playground, an old log cabin, shelter houses,  hiking trails, and biking trails, as well as a pond.  While all these amenities are lovely, the fountain is certainly the highlight of the park.  

The Merrill Fountain was built in the early 20th century and originally stood in front of the Detroit Opera House in Campus Martius Park. The elaborate white marble structure was designed in the Italian Renaissance style by John Carrere and Thomas Hastings, New York architects who also designed the New York Public Library. It was named for Charles Merrill, a businessman, and dedicated by his daughter, Elizabeth Palmer. 

Despite the weeds growing around the fountain and the stagnant water that fills its basin, the fountain is still beautiful. The arch shape at the back of the fountain with the details of the fish and turtle is amazing. There are lion’s heads sculpted into the railing of the fountain as well as some faces. 

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