The fountain was designed by Park architect Jacob Wrey Mould as a drinking fountain for horses, related to the function of the concourse as a place for carriage riders to stop and rest and enjoy the views of the Lake. Like many of Mould’s designs, the fountain was elaborate, which is perhaps why only the stone base and basin were completed. In 1981 the Central Park Conservancy completed a major project at Cherry Hill, which included restoring the concourse that had been used as a parking lot for decades and repairing the fountain, which was no longer functioning. As part of this work, the Conservancy realized Mould’s original design with the bird cups and lamps.
Cherry Hill is still a popular destination for enjoying views of the Lake and the cherries blooming in the spring. The fountain is often mistaken for the one featured in the opening credits of the popular sitcom Friends. Although the Cherry Hill Fountain looks similar, the fountain in the show was in fact filmed at a studio in Los Angeles.