Buckingham Fountain’s $25 Million Renovation Details Announced This Month


Buckingham Fountain’s $25 Million Renovation Details Announced



The Chicago Park District approved a project to undertake a
$25-million restoration project for Buckingham Fountain in February and the details were released earlier this month. The project will be the most comprehensive restoration yet undertaken on the 81 year old landmark. 

Chicago’s famous lakefront fountain is set to undergo the overhaul closing Sept. 2, about two months earlier than last year.  The renovation is the second time in 15 years that the fountain will be required to close.


“It’s an icon for the city and it deserves this attention to ensure it has another 80 or more years,” said Michael Fus, a preservation architect at the Chicago Park District.  In 1994, a $2.8 million project repaired the fountain’s three smaller, central basins.



This time, the larger outer basin, which is leaking thousands of gallons of water a week, will undergo the same treatment, Fus said. He said he hopes the fountain ends up using half the water it currently does. 

According to Michael Fus, the goal is to have the project done by April 1, 2009 when members of the International Olympic Committee visit Chicago. Chicago is one of four cities bidding for the 2016 summer games.


Officials are considering a more dramatic lighting show that would coordinate with lighting installed along Congress Parkway.

They’re also debating between new lamps that show sharper colors and the yellowish, more romantic hues of the current lights. 

The restoration also includes treating the fountain’s bronze sea horses and fencing. Park officials are considering replacing the loose pink gravel at the site with precast stone and concrete pavers.

Landscaping and the planting of trees will more closely mirror the original plans by Edward H. Bennett.


The Buckingham Fountain Restoration Plan will be paid with park, city and possibly state funds as well as $1 million generated from the Lollapalooza music festival and $8 million from an endowment for the fountain (the reserve fund set up as part of the original endowment for the fountain by its benefactor – Kate Sturges Buckingham), officials said.



Buckingham Fountain  Buckingham Fountain Restoration Chicago Park District  Michael Fus Kate Sturges Buckingham Lollapalooza Turbo Tagger

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