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The “Founding Fountain,” what looks like a mere sewer drain surrounded by bricks and grass near Tower Hall at San Jose State University, is more than meets the eye. The sewer drain was once the home to a marvelous object that changed the history of this area. The hundreds of bricks surrounding the drain, all with names inscribed on them, represent more than just people, those names represent the brave souls who went in search of greatness and found nothing less.

Long ago, the city of San Jose was nothing but a barren and toxic land. Uninhabitable and ugly, it was solely made up of flat dry land that surrounded a very large maze. There was much talk about this maze, and countless myths. It was said that if one were able to reach the center of this treacherous maze, they would find a magical stone that would bring them great fortune and fame. This stone had the power to shrink the massive walls of the maze down under the ground. By doing so, it granted the finder the ability to colonize what would now be a habitable, fruitful, and beautiful San Jose without the maze. This new San Jose would be green, filled with animals, life, and plenty of materials to build a magnificent city. Unfortunately, the uninhabitable land also had air that was terrible for the human lungs to breath in, so this trip would come at a price for adventurers. Many in the past had tried and failed, because by not reaching the center and lowering the walls, their lungs reached capacity with toxic matter, and they perished. Then one day, San José de Guadalupe and a populous group of brave explorers decided to trek into the maze. Surprisingly, everyone besides Guadalupe died during the search for the center, but luckily Guadalupe was able to do so and find the mythical stone.

This is the story of how San Jose was founded; with the assistance of others, one courageous adventurer was able to successfully find the stone that could rid San Jose of the maze and allow the city to thrive.  The maze can now be found at the Founding Fountain near tower hall, decreased so much in size it is no larger than the mortar in between each of those bricks surrounding the sewer drain. Each name inscribed on each brick is the name of one of the explorers who died on the treacherous journey. If you ever find yourself near Tower Hall, it would be wise to take the time and look at the origin of San Jose.