As a public health precaution due to COVID-19, all Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo are temporarily closed. We are not announcing a reopening date at this time and will provide updates on our website and social media.

J. L. Hudson Water Fountain

J. L. Hudson Water Fountain

Usage conditions apply
The department store with its striking architectural appointments became an elegant destination that encouraged shoppers to make an extended visit. This ornate brass water fountain was used in J.L. Hudson’s flagship department store at 1206 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, Michigan in 1911. The flagship store was 25 stories tall and occupied an entire city block. The interior of the store was built with the same elegance, replete with chandeliers, murals, floral arrangements, as well as this water fountain. The goal was to provide the customer with everything they would need to shop all day long, including amenities like restaurants, libraries, barber shops, and auditoriums.
Joseph Lowthian Hudson founded the chain of Hudson’s department stores in Detroit, Michigan in 1881. The store expanded to other locations and in 1969 was acquired by the Minneapolis based Dayton department store forming the Dayton-Hudson Corporation. In 2000 Dayton-Hudson changed its name to that of its discount retail division – Target. Later the department store division was renamed Marshall Field’s which was then sold to Macy’s in 2006.
Object Name
water fountain
date made
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
overall: 41 in x 11 1/4 in x 14 in; 104.14 cm x 28.575 cm x 35.56 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Target Corporation
See more items in
Work and Industry: Retail and Marketing
Industry & Manufacturing
American Enterprise
American Enterprise
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.


As someone who grew up in Detroit, and spent a great deal of time in Hudson's, I'm not sure if you have misinformation or a typo. The store was NOT 25 stories. It had 13 floors above ground and 2 basement floors. I wish I had been able to go to the auction and buy one of these beautiful fountains.

Add a comment about this object