Logan Square was one of William Penn’s five original squares in his layout of Philadelphia. Designed by French architect Jacques Griber, Logan Circle was intended to have a large space for a monument surrounded by lush gardens.
The Swann Memorial Fountain, also known as the Fountain of the Three Rivers, is named for Dr. Wilson Cary Swann, founder of the Philadelphia Fountain Society. It was designed by sculptor Alexander Stirling Calder and opened in 1924. The three Native American statues represent the Schuylkill River, the Delaware River, and the Wissahickon Creek.
The center geyser was designed to shoot more than 50 feet in the air, but it’s normally set to about 25 feet because the wind would blow the water out of the fountain and into traffic. On very windy days, the center geyser must be lowered even more.
Swann Fountain, with the Free Library of Philadelphia in the background, adapting the tradition of “river god” sculpture, Calder created large native American figures to symbolize the area’s major streams, The Delaware, The Schuylkill, and the Wissahickon.
The young girl leaning on her side against an agitated, water sprouting swan represents the Wissahickon; the mature woman holding the neck of a swan stands for the Schuylkill River; and the male figure, reaching above his head to grasp his bow as a large pike sprays water over him, symbolizes the Delaware River.
Sculpted frogs and turtles spout water towards the 50-foot geyser in the center. The use of swans is a pun on Dr. Swann’s name. Eyre designed the basin and the interlacing water jets including the central geyser.