You might have had a drink from the unassuming water fountain at the North Boulder Park playground. But, unless you turned and looked down, you probably missed the memorial plaque. On a recent overcast October day, the words of the dedication were partially covered with overgrown grass, fallen crabapples and autumn leaves. It reads: This fountain is given in loving memory of Emma Walsh April 29, 1971-April 1, 1974 Emma's mother, Stefany Rhodes, still a beautiful, petite brunette, recalls meeting Joe Walsh when she was a student at Boston University. They married shortly after her graduation, when she was just 21 years old. The couple welcomed baby girl Emma in the spring of 1971 and the family moved west a few months later. Emma Walsh in her North Boulder backyard in 1973. Emma Walsh in her North Boulder backyard in 1973. (Stefany Rhodes Courtesy photo) Emma's life coincided with the area's blossoming rock music scene. As a baby she often slept on the floor of the Caribou Ranch recording studio, while her father was making an album. The destination studio was built near Nederland in 1971. Later, when the family moved down to Boulder, Stefany worked hard to make a home for the golden-haired girl amidst smoke, loud music and a constant stream of hippie musicians. "Our house was like a crash pad," she said in an interview. The young wife put her foot down when yet another singer-songwriter, Dan Fogelberg, asked to stay at their home. Mother and daughter were very close. They walked nearly every day from their home to North Boulder Park to enjoy the playground. There were bars for Emma to swing on and the toddler especially loved it when her mother joined in the swinging. "She was warm and funny," Stefany said, describing Emma's personality. On April 1, 1974, Stefany drove down 9th street, taking her daughter to a morning playgroup. Joe, who had been touring extensively, as well as recording in Los Angeles, was returning to Boulder that day. Stefany was planning to drive back to their house and get ready for her husband's homecoming. But a driver ran a stop sign at 9th and Spruce, crashing into the passenger side of the Walshes' green Porsche. The impact caused the Walsh car to spin around and hit a fence across the street. Emma Walsh, less than a month away from turning 3 years old, sustained massive head injuries from the accident and was taken off life support late that night. One of the girl's physicians came to their home asking for permission to harvest Emma's corneas and kidneys for donation. Although taken aback at the request, Stefany gave consent. The Walsh marriage didn't survive the tragedy. "The accident kind of did us in," Stefany said. "We divorced shortly afterward." Joe later suggested a memorial water fountain at their favorite playground and she agreed. "The fountain was all Joe's doing, really," she said. "Joe was a very romantic person." Arrangements for the memorial were made through their lawyer. A popular 1970s style, the 'exposed aggregate' fountain was designed to match existing buildings in the park. Originally, it was built into a wooden structure and the memorial plaque was placed above eye-level. Boulder Mayor Frank Buchanan took the ceremonial first sip of water, when the fountain was dedicated at North Boulder Park on May 25, 1976. In 1984, Stevie Nicks' impromptu visit to the fountain with Joe Walsh inspired her song, "Has Anyone Ever Written Anything for You." According to Lisa Martin, Urban Parks Manager for the City of Boulder, the fountain has been vandalized often over the years. The base began rotting and became unstable. In recent years, the city had the fountain removed from the original structure and moved slightly. The plaque was then secured in the ground. There are no current plans to restore the drinking fountain. For parents who take notice of her daughter's memorial, Stefany's message is, "Love your children and pay attention to them — just pay attention to them." Emma Walsh is buried in her mother's hometown cemetery in Ipswich, Mass.