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The Vault: Revisiting the short-lived Falls Fountain

The 375-foot fountain was unveiled in 1988 and resided in the Ohio River. After a series of system failures the display was removed less than a year later.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — This week's vault takes us back to the creation of the Falls Fountain, a 375 foot fountain that was in the middle of the Ohio River. 

It was $2.6 million project and was finished in 1988. It was designed to form the city's trademark fleur-de-lis and feature impressive spotlights and colors above and below the water.

Officials at the time praised the fountain as the symbol Louisville's riverfront redevelopment and predicted it would spark a revitalization of Louisville's downtown business district.

However, that hope was short lived and less than a year later, the fountain's grand and complex design proved to be the source of its downfall.

The fountain suffered its first failure caused by clogged nozzles and entangled underwater cables. 

The series of issues threatening the to drown the two million dollar investment and after a year of costly repairs and breakdowns the foundation was abandoned.

In 2000, the city was paying $55 a day to store the scrap metal racking up a $20,000 tab by the end of the year.

The Louisville Water Company tried to unload the large fountain onto other waterfront cities. 

The best offer turned out to come right from the river. A New Albany man offering to pay about $15,000 for the fountain the city agree and since then it been tied to a barge right on the edge of the Ohio River.

Watch this week's Vault in full below: 

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Contact reporter Shay McAlister at smcalister@whas11.com. Follow her on Twitter (@WHAS11Shay) and Facebook. 

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