Buckingham Fountain Opening Day Events. Join ComEd and the Chicago Park District for “Switch on Summer” to celebrate the official opening of Buckingham Fountain for the season.
When: Sunday, May 5, 2019, Festivities begin at 12p.m.-3p.m. The fountain turns on at 2 p.m. Check out event.
Where: 301 S. Columbus Dr., (312) 742-7529. Hours:
WGN-TV chief meteorologist Tom Skilling will serve as the master of ceremonies for this event, which includes giveaways, family-friendly activities, live music by ‘80s cover band Sixteen Candles and more.
The Fountain produces a major water display for 20 minutes every hour. During the major display, a center jet shoots water to a height of 150 feet into the air. Major displays begin daily at 9:00 a.m. and continue thereafter, every hour on the hour. Beginning at dusk, a spectacular light and music display accompanies the major display, beginning every hour on the hour for 20 minutes. Each evening, the final major display begins at 10:35 p.m.
About Buckingham Fountain
- Donated by Kate S. Buckingham (1858-1937) in honor of her brother Clarence (1854 – 1913).
- Kate Sturges Buckingham (1858 – 1937) was the last member of the Buckingham family. Originally from Ohio, the Buckingham family made its fortune in grain elevators, real estate and steel. Kate and her brother donated valuable prints, paintings, sculptures, and objects to the Art Institute of Chicago.
- Ms. Buckingham donated one million dollars for the Fountain.
- The Fountain officially opened to the public on May 26, 1927 and was dedicated on August 26, 1927.
- As the centerpiece of Grant Park the Fountain serves as the Grant Park’s formal focal point without obstructing the views of the Lake Michigan.
- Architect Edward H. Bennett (1874–1954) designed the fountain and French artist Marcel Loyau produced the sculptural elements.
- Inspired by the Latona Fountain at Versailles, the structure is composed of four basins clad in elaborately carved granite and pink Georgia marble.
- Buckingham Fountain is twice the size of the Latona Fountain and re-circulates approximately three times more water than its French counterpart.
- Chicago’s fountain is also unique as it symbolizes Lake Michigan. Conveying the enormity of the lake, its major display uses as much as 15,000 gallons of water per minute and sprays water to a height of 150 feet from the ground.
- The massive lower basin features four sets of Art Deco style sea horses representing the four states that border Lake Michigan.
- The bottom pool of the fountain is 280 feet in diameter, the lower basin is 103 feet, the middle basin is 60 feet and the upper basin is 24 feet. The top of the upper basin stands 25 feet above the water in the lower basin.
- The fountain was manually operated by two engineers who each worked a twelve-hour daily shift from 1927 through the 1970s.
- Today the fountain is operated by an on-site computer.
- Buckingham Fountain is considered one of the finest ornamental fountains in America and is designated as a Chicago Landmark.