The Burnham Plan Centennial - Bold Plans, Big Dreams

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Buckingham Fountain Underground Tours

Buckingham Fountain Underground Tours

Have you ever wondered what it looks like beneath Chicago’s Clarence Buckingham Memorial Fountain?  This summer, Parkways Foundation and the Chicago Park District will offer a rare opportunity for the public to learn more about the city’s iconic monument through tours that include its underground pump works.  The half hour-long tours are offered every Friday at 12:00 p.m. from June 26 through September 4, 2009 when the fountain will be closed for the first full restoration in its 82-year history.  The cost of the tour is $50 and includes a Buckingham Fountain Restoration Project Commemorative Poster. All proceeds will benefit the restoration of the fountain.

The Buckingham Fountain has some interesting connections with the seminal 1909 Plan of Chicago.  Its authors, architects Daniel Hudson Burnham and Edward H. Bennett, had envisioned Grant Park as a great French Renaissance landscape with the Field Museum as its centerpiece.  After businessman A. Montgomery Ward fought to protect the open character of the park, an alternate location was identified for the Field Museum and a decorative fountain was designated as the centerpiece of the landscape.  Kate Sturges Buckingham gave a $1 million donation for what was then considered the “largest decorative fountain in the world.” Edward H. Bennett designed the monument in collaboration with French sculptor Marcel Loyau and engineer Jacques H. Lambert. Completed in 1927, the fountain remains as one of the city's most beloved and impressive monuments.  The tour allows you to see some of the mechanical systems that supporty displays that use as much as 1.5 million gallons of water per minute!

Program Partner

Chicago Park District

The Chicago Park District is the steward of over 550 parks spanning 7300 acres of land, including 33 beaches, nine museums and two conservatories. The agency is devoted to enhancing quality of life throughout the city as the leading provider ...[MORE]

This program was offered on these dates:
Friday, August 21, 2009 noon to 12:30pm
Friday, August 21, 2009 12:30pm to 1:00pm
Friday, August 28, 2009 11:30am to Thursday, August 27, 2009 noon
Friday, August 28, 2009 noon to 12:30pm
Friday, August 28, 2009 12:30pm to 1:00pm
Friday, September 4, 2009 11:00am to 11:30am
Friday, September 4, 2009 noon to 12:30pm
Friday, September 4, 2009 12:30pm to 1:00pm

Chicago Park District

Cost: $50

Contact: (312)742-5368 or


East side of Buckingham Fountain
S. Lake Shore Drive
at E. Congress Drive
Chicago, IL 60604
[Get Directions]

The Burnham Plan Centennial
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