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The Palm Springs Airport Fountain
Image by Randy Heinitz
Design of the fountain is a gift to Palm Springs from one of Mexico’s most talented architects, Julio de la Pena, who, during his first visit to Palm Springs with the city’s then-mayor, Frank Bogert, expressed his surprise at the fact that there were so few fountains in "one of the most beautiful cities in the United States."
It was not surprising then, that on his second visit to the desert, in 1965, he expressed his feelings again and offered to design a fountain, "as a present from my country to your country.”
Frank Bogert, not being one to pass up a gift to his city, set the wheels in motion.
Bogert conferred with Pearl McCallum McManus, thinking she might donate the money to build the fountain, as a gift to the city she loved, at the end of the street which bears her father’s name (Back then Tahquitz Canyon Way was Tahquitz-McCallum Way). Mrs. McManus agreed at once — but suggested a figure of ,000 instead of the original ,000, commenting that she had found that "everything one tries to build usually ends up costing double the estimate."
Bogert then presented the idea to the airport commission and to the city council, who gave the go-ahead on the plan.
Donald Wexler, architect for the airport terminal building, and Dave Hamilton, the landscape architect, were consulted and were enthusiastic about Julio’s design. After consultation with Julio, Wexler began to locate sub-contractors who could assemble the fountain, once the stones from Guadalajara had arrived.
Julio De La Pena did not design the fountain to conform to the architectural styling of the airport terminal. "The fountain is Mexican in flavor," he says. "It is supposed to be, so that people will see it as a symbol of friendship from Mexico."
In 2009, the famous Mexican fountain at the entrance to the Palm Springs International
Airport was named in honor of the City’s iconic former Mayor Frank Bogert,
who died that year at the age of 99.