Buckingham Fountain Officially Opens for the 85th Season
The Clarence Buckingham Memorial Fountain in Grant Park celebrates its 85th season of dazzling Chicagoans and visitors alike with its beauty along the lakefront. The fountain operates daily from 8 a.m. - 11 p.m. now through autumn, weather dependent. Times are subject to change when special events take place in or around Grant Park.
"Each year, the opening of Buckingham Fountain has signified to all Chicagoans that the summer season is upon us," said Chicago Park District General Superintendent and CEO Michael Kelly. "This iconic fountain represents Chicago's rich history and the many traditions that generations of residents, their families and visitors have enjoyed for decades."
During the season, the fountain produces a major display, shooting water from the center jet 150 feet into the air. The daily display begins at 9 a.m. and thereafter, it is every hour on the hour. Beginning at dusk, the fountain's major display is accompanied by a 20-minute light and music show every hour on the hour. An additional and final display of the evening begins at 10:35 p.m.
A gift to the people of Chicago from Miss Kate Buckingham as a memorial to her brother Clarence, the Fountain is often considered the most identifiable landmark in the city. Dedicated on August 26, 1927, the fountain was built at a cost of $750,000 and has since become a favorite backdrop for tourist snap shots, wedding photographers and filmmakers.
Edward H. Bennett designed the fountain to represent Lake Michigan with four sea horses, built by Marcel Loyau, to symbolize the four states that touch the lake: Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. Bennett attributed the design specifically to the influence of the Latona Basin in Louis XIV's gardens at Versailles.
The fountain is constructed of Georgia pink marble with a water capacity of 1.5 million gallons. Depending on wind conditions, major displays use approximately 14,100 gallons of water per minute conveyed through 134 jets. Water is re-circulated from the base pool after the basins are filled and not drawn from the outside except to replace losses from wind and evaporation.
For more information about the Chicago Park District's more than 8,100 acres of parkland, 580 parks, 26 miles of lakefront, 10 museums, two world-class conservatories, 16 historic lagoons, nearly 50 natural areas, thousands of special events, sports and entertaining programs, please contact the Chicago Park District at 312/742.PLAY or 312/747.2001 (TTY). Want to share your talent? Volunteer in the parks by calling 312/742.PLAY.