March 31, 2008

Buckingham Fountain

buckingham fountain

One of Chicago's most popular attractions is Buckingham Fountain. It is one of the largest fountains in the world and was dedicated to the people of Chicago by Kate Buckingham in honor of her late brother, Clarence. Kate also established the Buckingham Fountain Endowment Fund with an initial investment of $300,000 to pay for maintenance on the fountain.

buckingham fountainOpened on May 26, 1927, the fountain was designed to represent Lake Michigan; the four seahorse statues symbolize the four states that touch the lake: Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan.

It's currently too cold for Buckingham Fountain to be running, as it usually operates from mid-April to mid-October, depending on the weather. Once the temperature is right, it runs every day from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Every hour on the hour, the fountain produces a major water display for 20 minutes, and the center jet shoots 150 feet (46 m) into the air.

buckingham fountainThe fountain's water capacity is 1.5 million gallons (5.7 million liters). During the hourly displays, more than 14,000 gallons (52,980 liters) per minute are pushed through its 134 jets. The bottom pool is 280 feet (85 m) in diameter, the lower basin is 103 feet (31 m), the middle is 60 feet (18 m), and the upper basin is 24 feet (7 m).

Finally, a few trivia:
' Buckingham is equipped with 134 jets, 820 lights, and an alarm system.
' The fountain was the starting line for The Amazing Race 6.
' It was the official starting point for U.S. Route 66.
' It is perhaps best known for its appearance in the opening credits of the sitcom Married' with Children.

buckingham fountainbuckingham fountain
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buckingham fountain

Photo credit: RcktManIL, David Paul Ohmer, josephp, BrokenBat, scubapup, alykat, theotherway, soundfromwayout

Buckingham Fountain: 500 S Columbus Dr or 500 S Lake Shore Dr
(The closest bus routes are one block west on Michigan Ave)
Public trans: Bus # 1, 3, X3, 4, X4, 6, 7, 14, 26, X28, 126, 127, 147


3 comments to Buckingham Fountain

  1. scubapup
    May 7th, 2008 at 10:15 pm

    when i visited last year, they turned it off at 9pm despite the brochures saying it was open till 11pm :(

  2. Matt B
    May 8th, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    Sorry to hear that, scubapup. Was it especially windy or cold that evening? That’s the only explanation I can think of.

    Thanks for share your photo, btw.

  3. Centennial Fountain Is a River Blast
    July 14th, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    [...] Buckingham Fountain is probably the most famous fountain in Chicago, but one of my favorites has always been Centennial Fountain. It is much more interactive, allowing visitors to get close enough to actually touch the water. Completed in 1989, it commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Chicago. The fountain is located near the very spot where the agency reversed the flow of the Chicago River back in 1900. [...]

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