Buckingham Fountain is a Chicago
landmark in the center of Grant Park
. Dedicated in 1927, it is one of the largest fountains in the World
. Built in a rococo wedding cake style and inspired by the Latona Fountain at the Palace of Versailles, it is meant to allegorically represent Lake Michigan.It operates from April to October, with regular water shows and evening color-light shows. During the winter, the fountain is decorated with festival lights.
The fountain is considered Chicago's front door, since it resides in Grant Park, the city's front yard near the intersection of Columbus Drive and Congress Parkway. The fountain itself represents Lake Michigan, with each sea horse symbolizing the states of Illinois
, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana, that border the lake. he fountain was designed by beaux arts architect Edward H. Bennett.
Many tourists and Chicagoans visit the fountain each year. The fountain operates daily 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. from mid-April through mid-October. Water shows occur every hour on-the-hour and last 20 minutes. During shows, the center jet shoots up vertically to 150 feet (46 m) and after dusk, shows are choreographed with lights and music. The last show begins at 10:00 p.m. nightly.
The fountain is constructed of Georgia
pink marble and contains 1,500,000 U.S. gallons (5,700,000 L) of water. During a display, more than 14,000 U.S. gallons per minute (0.88 m3/s) are pushed through its 193 jets. The bottom pool of the fountain is 280 ft (85 m) in diameter, the lower basin is 103 ft (31 m), the middle basin is 60 ft (18 m) and the upper basin is 24 ft (7.3 m). The lip of the upper basin is 25 ft (7.6 m) above the water in the lower basin.