At the center of Grant Park stands a massive monument in pink marble – a testament to a sister’s love of her family. Buckingham Fountain, one of the largest in the world, is the centerpiece of a gathering place referred to as the city’s front yard and a host to public events and entertainment throughout the warm summer months.
The Clarence F. Buckingham Memorial Fountain was dedicated in 1927 by Kate Sturges Buckingham in memory of her beloved brother Clarence, who had died suddenly at the age of 58. Making a donation of $1 million for construction and maintenance, Ms. Buckingham commissioned a project that was destined to be one of the calling cards of the great city of Chicago.
Design Rivaling Versailles
Buckingham Fountain was designed by the renowned beaux arts Architect Edward H. Bennett, known for his co-authorship of the Plan of Chicago in 1909, as well as the construction of Grant Park. Through his designs, Bennett brought a refined sense of grandeur to the Windy City that remains nearly 90 years after the dedication of the structure.
The statues in the fountain, including the four sea horses meant to represent the four states bordering Lake Michigan, were created by French sculptor Marcel F. Loyau. The fountain was heavily inspired by the Bassin de Latome and also took design cues from Latona Fountain of Versailles.
The fountain contains 1,500,000 total gallons of water, with 14,000 gallons per minute being forced through the 193 individual jets during the hourly shows, which occur from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. from April through October. During shows, the center jets blast water 150 feet into the air, much to the delight of viewers who have come from all corners of the globe to see the remarkable spectacle. Nighttime summer displays are accompanied by music and light shows for the ultimate in outdoor viewing entertainment.
Make Buckingham Fountain Part of Your Architectural Tour of the City
Buckingham Memorial Fountain is only one of the striking architectural features awaiting travelers in Chicagoland. Let Shoreline Sightseeing show you the wonders of the city as only a boat tour can. Check out our Architectural tours and relax as we guide you through the city on the Chicago River.