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Buckingham Fountain

July 20, 2012

By Daniel Murray Midtown Reporter     

One of the most unique features in Chicago are the fountains. In the northern section of downtown, there is Buckingham Fountain. The address is 500 S. Columbus Dr. Chicago, IL.  This fountain was completed on August 26, 1927, being one of the largest fountains in the world. Buckingham Fountain holds 1,500,000 U.S. gallons of water. Another large fountain in the world is Jet d’ Eau located in Geneva, Switzerland. This fountain jets 500 liters of water to an altitude of 459 feet. This fountain was installed in 1896.  This fountain was donated by Kate Buckingham to honor her brother Clarence Buckingham. “Clarence Buckingham Fountain” is actually its official name.  The total cost of the fountain was $750,000, plus $300,000 for maintenance.

Buckingham Fountain is open from April through October 8am to 11pm. The fountain operates daily water shows throughout the day, and evening color-light shows. Last time I visited in mid-June, I found out that they had a water show where the water arose 150 feet. I first  heard about this because last time I went there a tourist asked me if I knew at what time the water rose, then I wanted to see it, and it was amazing. Eventhough the fountain is closed throughout the winter it still has decorative Christmas Lights in the winter. At the Buckingham Fountain they have benches, bathrooms, and food stands. It is easily accesible from all parts of the city and is walking distance from the Art Institute, Hotels, Navy Pier, Adler Planetarium and Shedd Aquarium. Every night throughout the summer they have concerts, the last one starting at 10 pm.

The architects that designed this fountain were Daniel Burnham and Edward Bennett. The statues were created by Marcel F. Loyau. In 1994, the fountain received $2.8 million which were used to restore the three smallest basins which were leaking because of Chicago’s rough winters.  The most recent renovation took place in September 2008.

Fountains are a beautiful feature all over the world. They all exist in different sizes, building materials, and water patterns. One unique thing about fountains is that they are visible and free unlike most attractions. So next time you’re bored, whether you live in Chicago or not, it may be a good idea to visit a nearby fountain.

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