5 Interesting Facts About the Buckingham Fountain of Chicago
1. One of The World’s Largest Fountains
The Buckingham Fountain measures 85 metres in diameter, making it one of the largest constructions of the sort in the world. It rises more than 7 meters high and consists of three successive levels of basins, engulfed by four pairs of bronze seahorses. It features 134 jets powered by 3 pumps, ejecting water up to a staggering height of more than 45 metres!
2. It Has Nothing to Do with Buckingham Palace!
The fountain has nothing to do with Buckingham Palace, as believed by many due to the synonymy. It is named after its wealthy benefactor, Kate Buckingham, who dedicated it on May 26, 1927, as a memorial for her late brother, Clarence.
Clarence Buckingham, born in 1854, was the eldest of three and moved to Chicago with the rest of his family while still a young boy. His father founded a firm building and operating grain elevators and quickly became one of the wealthier businessmen in the area.
Clarence followed on his steps and showed particular interest in art and culture. Unfortunately, he died unexpectedly in 1913. His untimely demise was a shock to both his family and his fellow citizens.
3. The Fountain Holds Almost 6,000,000 Litres of Water
Given its gargantuan dimensions, it may not come as a surprise that the Buckingham Fountain holds a little less than 6 million litres of water!
4. It is equipped with an Elaborate Security Alarm!
It may sound a bit foolish, or at least redundant, but, as a matter of fact, it is 100% necessary! The Buckingham Fountain is equipped with an elaborate security system, monitored 24 hours a day by trained personnel! Its precious material and immense cultural and historical value have made it a target before, and Chicago wishes to make sure no damage is inflicted on it.
5. It Represents Lake Michigan!
Last, you should know that the whole construction is a sophisticated symbol of the famed Lake Michigan! Built by M. Loyau, the basins stand for the Lake itself, while each pair of horses represents one of the states encircling its waters, namely Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin.
It is a sublime sight, and you should not miss the chance to visit this marvel of the past century! Join one of our Segway Tours in the city of Chicago and marvel its spectacular water formations.
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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!
301 S Columbus Dr, Chicago, IL 60605