Bow Down Before “The Genius of Water”

Genius of Water!

Honesty up front: “The Genius of Water” is the name of a fancy fountain, not a movie or a pet name for whoever invented Evian.

Sometimes when it’s freezing outside and newly dangerous open air stings at every uncovered part of you, it’s therapeutic to look back on warmer, prettier times and remember what sunshine and comfortable temperatures felt like. The past few days’ weather advisories had me yearning for flashbacks to our September visit to downtown Cincinnati, where, among other points of interest, my wife and I dawdling in scenic Fountain Square, one of the prettiest city blocks the Queen City had to offer.

Also, sometimes it’s good to finish a project you started two months ago and then suspended halfway through for no quantifiable reason. Triple bonus points to any readers out there who noticed and were kinda wondering. Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

It’s convention time yet again! This weekend my wife Anne and I have driven two hours southeast of Indianapolis to attend a show we’ve never done before, the seventh annual Cincinnati Comic Expo. With her birthday coming up in a few weeks, which usually means a one-day road trip somewhere, we agreed this would count as her early celebration.

(Anne subsequently spent the birthday itself hanging out at home. It was a bit anticlimactic, but on the upside she still looks half her age.)

Fountain Square!

We approached Fountain Square from the southeast corner during our random downtown wandering.

Every valid metropolitan downtown has an oasis of greenery, benches, sculpture, and other inspired decor nestled among its skyscrapers and parking garages. Cincinnati’s Fountain Square serves that purpose, having been around in one form or another since 1871 in between the monolithic corporate headquarters of companies such as Macy’s and Fifth Third Bank.

Fountain Square flowers!

Status update: most of these lovely flowers are probably in hiding or dead now. P.S.: Please forgive the lateness of this entry.

One could argue the block’s greatest feature is neither art nor nature, but ice cream. Specifically, Graeter’s, founded in Cinci in 1870 by Bavarian immigrants who knew exactly what America needed.


Google Maps tells me they have two locations in central Indiana. Both are in trendier areas far from our house, so they’re dead to me — doubly so, now that winter is coming.

Wikipedia has a feature-length paragraph about their ice cream manufacturing process that probably means more to ice cream artisans who have informed, possibly even finicky views on the subject. At the time, we were hot and didn’t care how the stuff was made. All we knew is it was the dessert we needed. I was tempted by their wide assortment of pastries and other non-dairy snacks, but I figured I’ll save those for our next Cincinnati trip someday.


I’ll vouch for their buckeye chocolate chip (it’s so Ohio!), while Anne was satisfied with whatever fruity berry flavor she had. I didn’t write it down and 2½ months is well past the statue of limitations for expecting someone to remember what flavor ice cream cone they once ate long ago and far away.

Fountain Square’s centerpiece is a fountain. It’s not just a catchy name. The construct named “The Genius of Water” is also known locally as the Tyler Davidson Fountain, named after the brother-in-law of the 19th-century local businessman who commissioned it as a tribute.

The Genius of Water!

I don’t think they leave the water running in December, but I bet this would look differently nifty if it were left to ice over.

You’d expect such an ornate display of Classicism would feature gods and demigods as its figures of choice, but no. Reportedly the intent was specifically avoid deities and instead feature mere mortals, in the form of laborers in various water-based industries. This is not the place for genuflecting to the water deities from your favorite pantheons.

Fountain heroes!

I’m reminded of Andrew Ryan’s Rapture tourism slogan, “No gods or kings, only man.” Ryan was a deluded maniac, so perhaps that’s not the best reference to invoke.

Indianapolis has its own Fountain Square, but it’s more of a neighborhood than a singular city block. Someday I should go back there for comparison, but the last time I tried, I found no open parking spaces anywhere except near three different occupied police cars in three different spots that gave me the impression that visitors were discouraged. We owe special thanks to Cincinnati’s Fountain Square for not being that kind of square.


God bless the child noble enough to perform CPR on drowning ducks.

To be continued! Before 2017, probably!

* * * * *

The preceding entry was Part Four of a six-part MCC miniseries covering our two-day visit to Cincinnati, September 24-25, 2016. Other chapters in the series are/will be linked below for reference. Thanks for reading!

Prologue: Another Convention, Another Series of Quests
Part 1: Cincinnati Comic Expo 2016 Photos #1: Cosplay!
Part 2: Cincinnati Comic Expo 2016 Photos, Part 2 of 2: Who We Met and What We Did
Part 3: The Dashing Designs of “Downton Abbey”
Part 5: Shortest Presidency, Tall Memorial
Part 6: Cincinnati 2016 Overnighter Photos [last call for Cincy pics]

3 responses

    • Thank you, dear! I saw that one on their site and caught the color similarity, but then I started second-guessing myself.

      (Ladies and gentlemen, my wife making her first appearance in the MCC comments section. Mark the occasion because someday this’ll be a trivia question.)


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