Fountain memories

When conditions were just right, the soft sounds of the Musical Fountain would float through Laurie Mitchell's bedroom window.
Marie Havenga
May 11, 2013


Mitchell, who moved to Grand Haven from Ludington after her father took a job here in 1965, said the sound was sweet to her second-grade ears.

As the gentle lull of the music drifted through the curtains, the young girl would drift off to sleep.

“I thought it was really neat that I could hear it all the way from downtown,” said Mitchell, who grew up on Colfax Avenue. “That was my first memory of the fountain. I tell my kids that story now and they think it's kind of dorky, but I think it's cool.”

Back then, the Musical Fountain, like Mitchell, was young. It was just 2 years old when she first heard the mysterious music through her window.

Her family would take her to see fountain performances in person about once a week. When relatives visited from Ludington, Mitchell's family would take them to see the famous dancing waters.

“I remember them inviting relatives to see it, so it must have been the 'in' thing,” Mitchell said. “I didn't realize it was so new then. I know my grandparents really liked it. I remember walking down there with them and eating ice cream.”

Mitchell said when she first told people that she could hear the fountain from her house, they didn't believe her.

“It wasn't every night — it had to be just right," she said. "If the wind was blowing the other way, I couldn't hear it.”

Mitchell, who now lives in Fruitport, said she takes her own children — Emma, 17; and Erica, 14 — to the fountain a couple of times each summer.

While she enjoys the new programming, Mitchell said she prefers the fountain's original voice that debuted in 1963.

“That's just because that's what I remember,” she said. “I just remember the window being open and the curtains blowing, and it being a really neat place to have a bedroom where I could hear that. I just hope it's always there so my grandkids can enjoy it.”



Yawn. Her and 10,000 other kids.


Those are some great memories for Grand Haven. So many people take for granted some of the really neat things around here that inspire. Thanks for sharing Marie! :)

No One Special

Nice story. Reminded me of the simple pleasures we enjoyed when I grew up. Those individuals who are bored by such stories must have either missed out on making fond memories when they were young, or are a part of the overstimulated, self-indulged generation we are raising today.


As much as we used to laugh about being the home of the "World's Largest Musical Fountain" (followed by the thought that maybe we were the home of the ONLY musical fountian), I long for the old voice of the fountain.

There was something reassuring about hearing the music as well as the opening and closing music of the fountain. Almost no matter where we were in the waterfront / downtown area there was something in that voice that said we were home in our special community.

As teens we never paid much attention to the actual fountain programming . . . but it was always there and always part of our evenings.


Post a Comment

Log in to your account to post comments here and on other stories, galleries and polls. Share your thoughts and reply to comments posted by others. Don't have an account on Create a new account today to get started.