Chicago: Grant Park / Clarence Buckingham Memorial Fountain

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Clarence Buckingham Memorial Fountain

Completed: 1927

Architect: Edward Bennett designed the fountain in conjunction with French sculptor Marcel Loyau and engineer, Jacques H. Lambert.

Location: Columbus Dr. (301 E.) & Congress Pkwy. (500 S.); Chicago, IL 60605.

The Fountain runs from 8 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. daily,
typically from early April through mid-October, depending on weather.
Display times are subject to change during special events in Grant Park.

Kate Sturges Buckingham, philanthropist and art patron donated one million dollars for the fountain which was dedicated to the memory of her brother, Clarence Buckingham.
At the time, she also established a $300,000 trust fund to ensure that the taxpayers would never have to cover all of the repair and upkeep costs associated with the fountain.

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Buckingham Fountain

Buckingham Fountain

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The Buckingham Fountain is inspired by the Latona Basin at Versailles.

Edward Bennett created an enormous structure with four basins clad in elaborately carved pink Georgia marble with granite details.

The Clarence Buckingham Memorial Fountain symbolizes Lake Michigan. It conveys the enormity of the Great Lake through its vast and impressive water displays.

Some of the water displays use approximately 15,000 gallons of water per minute, and the major display, which occurs every hour for 20 minutes, sprays water to a height of 150 feet from the ground. The lower basin provides a pool that extends 280 feet in diameter.

Bennett decided to place four pairs of Art Deco style sea horses to represent the four states that border Lake Michigan.

The monument’s original design included colored lighting to emulate soft moonlight.

When the fountain was dedicated in August of 1927, John Philip Sousa conducted, as his band which played “Pomp and Circumstance,” before an audience of 50,000.

The Buckingham Fountain has been designated as a Chicago Landmark and a contributing feature within Grant Park’s listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

 

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Art Deco Sea Horses /  Buckingham Fountain

Art Deco Sea Horses / Buckingham Fountain

 

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Buckingham Fountain

Buckingham Fountain

 

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While in operation, every hour on the hour for 20 minutes the Fountain produces a major water display and the center jet shoots 150 feet into the air. Beginning at dusk, every hour on the hour for 20 minutes the Fountain’s major water display is accompanied by a major light and music display. The final display of the evening begins at 10:00 p.m.

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Buckingham Fountain

Buckingham Fountain

 

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The Music and Light Show

 

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Music and Light show / Buckingham Fountain

Music and Light show / Buckingham Fountain

 

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Music and Light show / Buckingham Fountain

Music and Light show / Buckingham Fountain

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Buckingham Fountain’s designer, Edward H. Bennett, was born in Wiltshire, England in 1874. But he chose to settle down in Chicago. Along with Daniel Burnham, he co-authored the “Plan of Chicago” in 1909. Burnham and Bennett created a working document giving substance to the City Beautiful philosophy. From this prototype Bennett developed comparable plans for numerous American cities, including Minneapolis, Detroit, and Portland, Oregon.

 

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RELATED LINKS

Public Art in Grant Park.. click here..
Public Art in Loop.. click here..
Chicago Landmark Monuments.. click here..

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