The Chapultepec Fountain was one part of a much more extensive Chapultepec aqueduct, which one ran from inside the park the length of today’s Chapultepec Avenue. Like other aqueducts that once brought water into the city, this one is almost entirely lost to history.
The aqueduct of Chapultepec was first begun in 1418. Built from local materials, mostly mud, clay, and tree trunks, it’s believed to have been a not entirely reliable system. In 1449 it failed entirely and the city was dry for weeks.
Nezahualcoyotl, of the notoriously engineering-saavy Texcoco kingdom, then famously ordered a much more robust system following the same route. This one was made with a double trough actually reported by Hernán Cortés. He also noted the strategic importance of a water supply to Tenochtitlan, and thus, it was he who ultimately destroyed it during the siege.
Long after the conquest, in 1716, a new aqueduct was begun. This was to be one of the longest lasting and as the photo above shows, parts of it remain today. A grand total of 904 arches of brick and mortar were ultimately needed to transport the water from the Albercas de Chapultepec. The colonial water supply went to both Mexico City and Tacubaya, and ran along Chapultepec Avenue, then Belén and Izazaga Avenues. The distance of some four kilometers met with three fountains where the water was available to end consumers.
The first, the actual Chapultepec Fountain pictured above, was in Chapultepec Forest. At the time, it served the no-longer existent town of Chapultepec as well as San Miguel Chapultepec, then part of Tacubaya. Although it has been moved, it is still the original fountain structure.
The second fountain was at the intersection of Izazaga and Niño Perdido streets, today the intersection of Eje Central /Lázaro Cárdenas and the avenue Arcos de Belén. The fountain there is a 1948 replica. The badly damaged original was moved to the Viceregal Museum in Tepotzotlán, Edomex.
A third fountain was as faraway as La Merced on the other side of the Centro Histórico. This one was entirely demolished at the end of the 19th century.