Clarence F. Buckingham Memorial Fountain
Opened on May, 1927 Buckingham Fountain is one of the most famous landmarks one can visit while scouting through Central Park in the Chicagoland Area. Fountain was dedicated to its people same year by Kate Sturges Buckingham, serving as a memory to hers late brother Clarence. Designer Edward H. Bennett, artist Marcel Loyal and engineer Jacques H. Lambert worked on a structure worth 1 million dollars. It took two years starting from 1925 to complete the work. Inspiration for this unique work of art came from smaller but not less stunning master peace, Latona Fountain at Versailles. However this monument, in its display uses 15,000 gallons of water per one single minute, which is three times larger than the Versailles Fountain. No where else in Chicago will you see that much water as an attraction except at the Shedd Aquarium. Accompanying that with 820 lights which by the Kate’s desire emulate “soft moonlight” effect, you are having unique mystical experience. No
Buckingham fountain stands also as an symbol for Lake Michigan, sculptural elements, large lower basin, four bronze “see horses”, represent four states bordering the lake: Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. Even thou unlikely from our point of view, this system was operated manually by two engineers for its first 50 years of existence. Attraction was fully automated in 1980. Buckingham Endowment Fund renovated the monument using 2.8 million dollars in 1994. There was no significant damage although there was a small theft. Couple of pounds weight, two carved fish heads were stolen but found soon after the buyer recognized them. For now Buckingham Fountain is secured and monitored by security company in Chicago’s Northwest suburbs.
Depending on the weather, one can visit the monument throughout the summer, specifically from early May until middle October. Attraction is open from 8:00 am to 11:00 pm every day. Like many other national monuments, display changes accordingly to certain significant events taking place. There are two kinds of presentation happening. Major representation where water reaches a height of 150 feet into the air lasts for about 20 minutes every hour. First major display starts at 9:00 a.m. and last at 10:35 p.m. Displays after 8:00 pm include company of appropriate, relaxing music making the effect memorable and worth of your visit. Lately one of the newer attraction is the underground tour, those who are interesting in technology can look at this fountain from whole other perspective. One more reason to visit this place is the fact that this monument is centrally located, other significant Chicago tourist attractions are not far away. You do not have to worry about parking, the Van Buren Metra Station is practically on the other side of the street, also admission is always free.
If you find this place familiar and you just can not remember where you saw it before, we would like to remind you that this iconic landmark was on opening credits of comedy sitcom Married… With Children also it appeared on the starting line for the six season of The Amazing Race.
Some come here just passing through the park, others are relaxing and admiring the national treasure, in any case, one of the most famous landmarks of Chicago’s Central Park is worth visiting. Do not forget the camera!
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