FOUNTAIN HILLS – There’s some confusion about the World’s Tallest Fountain. What used to be the World’s Tallest Fountain in Fountain Hills has been usurped by the Gateway Geyser in East St. Louis, Illinois, but the Arizona gusher is still the World’s Tallest Fountain sometimes. The Illinois fountain shots a geyser 627 feet into the air, the best the one in Arizona can do is 560 feet, when operating at full capacity.
However, the fountain in East St. Louis operates only from mid-April through mid-October. That factor makes it a part-time world’s tallest, so the Fountain Hills fountain can lay claim to the honor the rest of the year. Three 600-horsepower pumps shoot a six-inch column of water through a nozzle that weighs more than a ton and measures seven feet long.
It was built in 1970 as an attraction to lure buyers to then-developing Fountain Hills. Robert McCulloch, who envisioned and funded the big spouter, was also responsible for relocating the London Bridge to Lake Havasu. Initially, the fountain spurted 24 hours a day, but due to energy concerns, it now ejects the liquid blast only four times per hour during daylight hours. Water-lovers can view it in the lake at the corner of Avenue of the Fountains and Saguaro.