1998 Christmas in Columbia Ornament of Opportunity – Five Points Fountain


In keeping with the spirit of the season, the Babcock Center Foundation proudly presents the 1998 “Official City Ornament.” This year’s ornament depicts the Five Points Fountain.


The Storyteller fountain is a sculptural fountain located in the heart of Five Points South in front of the Highlands United Methodist Church where 20th Street South, 11th Court South & Magnolia Avenue converge. With its realistically-depicted fairy tale creatures gathered around storyteller, the fountain has become a popular local landmark.

The original conception was for a piece of art to be commissioned in Southside as a memorial to murdered art dealer Malcolm McRae who operated the Signature House gallery in the Haskins Williams residence at 1312 20th Street South. McRae’s mother Jane envisioned a tiled border around a garden at Five Points. With the encouragement of Cecil Roberts and Mayor Richard Arrington (and his assistant Anne Adams), that idea blossomed into a commission for a sculptural fountain.

Roberts thought of the work as a way to “to create a place from which a picture could be taken that would immediately be identified as Birmingham”. The design was commissioned from sculptor Frank Fleming through the Birmingham Art Association. He originally planned for the central figure, representing McRae, to be a lion. As he worked, he changed the figure to a ram.