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The Esplanade at Fairmount Water Works

Do you know where this statue is? Come explore the Esplanade at Fairmount Water Works to find out! The sculpture, designed by Ellen Fletcher, is called “Celebration of Water”. It was first installed on the riverside rock in 1989 as part of a design plan for an Interpretive Esplanade with the goal of exploring the relationship between man and the Schuylkill River. This fisherman has had quite the adventurous past – it has been knocked off its precarious perch on multiple occasions, the last time being when Tropical Storm Isaias impacted our area.

The esplanade is a riverside walkway adjacent to Fairmount Park’s historic South Garden and an extension of Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center. Highlighted here are a few aspects of the esplanade, but there are several more exhibits for you to find when you explore it on your own!

Inlaid in the walkway is a guide to the fish of the Schuylkill River, with examples of eels, bass, and other native species on metal emblems inlaid directly into the cement. All of these fish can be caught right off the edge of the esplanade itself.

Alongside the path are signs from historical businesses that relied on the Schuylkill River for manufacture and transportation of their goods.

Finally, at the end of the walkway, there is an exhibit representing an archaeological dig site of a Lenape fishing camp. The site contains arrowheads, axe heads, and fishing weights for a net. The Lenape were stewards of this river for generations before Europeans arrived. The Lenape took such good care of the river and surrounding riparian zones, that there is little archeological evidence found today.