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Parks & Outdoor

Gus S. Wortham Memorial Fountain in Houston

The fountain as it appears most days
Posted: April 15, 2016 at 11:41 pm   /   by   /   comments (2)

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Buffalo Bayou Park

An eye-catching attraction called the Gus. S. Wortham Memorial Fountain is in Buffalo Bayou Park. This Houston park consists of 160 acres. It has many different areas for people to enjoy.  The park is located just west of downtown and offers excellent city skyline views.

Wortham Memorial Fountain

Wortham Memorial Fountain

Gus S. Wortham Memorial Fountain

Located right across from the Wortham Tower in American General Center, it is a fitting location for this monument.

Inscribed is the following on a plaque near the fountain:

“Gus S. Wortham Memorial Fountain

This grove and Fountain are donated in memory of Gus S. Wortham

Businessman, Philanthropist, Civic Leader, and Founder of the American General Insurance Company

1891-1976”

Insurance Company Success

Gus and his father moved to Houston back in 1915. That is when they started the John L. Wortham & Son Insurance agency.

Gus went on to work with other notable Houston business people and started the American General Insurance Company in 1926. Success breeds success!

Because of that success, in 2001 the American General became a part of American International Group. Reading about the company now, it is worth over 60 billion dollars. It is a publicly traded company on the New York Stock exchange. Corporate headquarters remain in Houston.

American General started with only two insurance agents. It eventually had thousands of agents operating in every state of the U.S. That was all under the leadership of Gus S. Wortham.

Fountain structure appearance without water flow

Fountain structure appearance without water flow

Gus Wortham

Gus wore the uniform of our country back during World War I.  He was the commander of an aerial squadron and was also a gunnery instructor. After that background and the success he had as a businessman, he became an avid civic leader in Houston.

Just as civic-minded was his wife, Elizabeth Lyndall Finley Wortham, and they formed the Wortham Foundation.  This foundation has supported numerous cultural entities as well as parks and other good causes.  You can read much more about these two philanthropists by clicking here.

Dandelion Fountain

The day I took these photos the water from the fountain would flow for a while and then cease. Most of the time when driving past this fountain on Allen Parkway, the water is usually flowing. Lighting at night makes this site even more eye-catching.

Dogs are sometimes seen cooling off in this fountain.  The mist from the spray also cools passersby depending upon which way the wind is blowing.

This fountain is also known as the Dandelion Fountain. I can certainly understand why when looking at its construction. Gus Wortham was impressed with one in Australia and wanted a similar type constructed here in Houston.

View of Wortham Tower with a flag on top of American General Center with a portion of Buffalo Bayou below

View of Wortham Tower with a flag on top of American General Center with a portion of Buffalo Bayou below

William T. Cannady

A native Houstonian designed this eye-catching fountain. William T. Cannady is an architect and a long time professor of architecture at Rice University. He has won numerous national and international awards and has lectured here and abroad. The fountain began to operate in 1978 and consists of bronze lacquered pipes.

Donated to the City of Houston by the Wortham Foundation and American General Life Insurance, it surely is a beauty!

View of Buffalo Bayou

View of Buffalo Bayou

Buffalo Bayou Park

Buffalo Bayou Park has hiking and biking trails, play areas and more.  It surely is an asset to our city. You can find the Memorial Fountain here: Allen Pkwy. & Waugh Drive, Houston, Texas 77019.

Buffalo Bayou has several tributaries running into it. It starts in the Katy, Texas area and runs through the City of Houston and Ship Channel. The bayou finally empties into the Gulf of Mexico by Galveston.

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