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Fountain's Last Shot Tonight!

By Anthony Todd in News on Sep 2, 2008 5:53PM

Photo by Supernova 9

If you’re a lover of Buckingham Fountain and its magnificent water shows, be sure to head downtown this afternoon! After today, the fountain will be shut down early to begin a major restoration effort. The first top-to-bottom renovation since the fountain was created in 1927 will (hopefully) be completed on April 1, 2009—just in time for the visit of the International Olympic Committee.

Why does the fountain need a $25 million renovation? The fountain’s lower basin is made of pink Georgia marble, and 80 winters’ worth of expansion and contraction have caused the basin to crack and erode, leaking hundreds of thousands of gallons of water into the ground. There was a partial restoration in 1994, but budgetary limitations forced a focus on cosmetic enhancements, and the structure of the fountain was left untouched.

The plumbing system is also corroding away, as are the iron screws holding together all of the decorative bronze features. Fun fact: The four sculptures around the base represent the four states that surround Lake Michigan! The sculptures are going to be treated so that they can withstand the constant flow of water from the fountain.

In addition to all the repair work, enhancements to the water and light show (which shows every hour after dusk) will create an even more beautiful performance. The renovators hope to get the fountain to shoot water even higher than it’s current record of 150 feet. Good luck, Buckingham Fountain. We’ll miss you! [ ABC7. For more information (or to donate to the repair effort) visit Restore the Fountain]