Saturday, August 24, 2013

Urbs in Horto -- Sunflowers and Buckingham Fountain

August 24, 1925 -- Construction begins on Chicago's Buckingham Fountain
It was on this day back in 1925 that work began on one of Chicago’s great lakefront attractions, the fountain that serves as the central point of Grant Park -- Kate Buckingham’s gift in memory of her deceased brother, Clarence.  In relating the news of the fountain’s construction The Chicago Tribune called it “as large and as costly as any in the world . . . twice the size of that of Latona at Versailles.”

Stopping by the fountain is always a pleasure, even more today than in the 1920’s because we don’t have the smoke and cinders of the railroads separating the mist of the fountain’s jets from the majesty of the skyline two blocks to the west.

Spend a few minutes at the fountain today, and you’ll get a real treat because on the east side, running along Lake Shore Drive, are two big patches of sunflowers, just now coming into bloom.  Show me another city that displays this close a relationship between nature, art and architecture. 

It is eye-catching.  That was especially true on the morning that I stopped by as fire equipment and a paramedic van had southbound traffic on the drive at a near standstill, working an accident in which an S.U.V. had slammed into the rear of a cab, the accident probably the result of a driver being blinded by the sunflowers.

Here's a look at how great this scene is . . .

JWB Photo
JWB Photo
JWB Photo

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