Wednesday, June 5, 2019

The Drake Fountain (Christopher Columbus) in Chicago, Illinois. (1892)

Believed to be the first statue in Chicago to commemorate Christopher Columbus, this monument was dedicated in December 1892, marking the 400th anniversary of the explorers’ voyage to the Americas. 
Walking past the Drake Fountain on LaSalle Street outside City Hall, Chicago. (1906)
The 7½ foot bronze figure is of Columbus as a young man with a globe in hand. The fountain is inspired by Gothic architecture and small granite columns and curving buttresses rise up 33 feet to the pointed spire on top.
Now located in Richard Henry Park, 92nd Street, and Exchange Avenue, Chicago, Illinois.
Originally located downtown on the Washington Street side of City Hall in 1892 to provide chilled drinking water to those in the Loop, the fountain was moved to the LaSalle side in 1906. The fountain dispensed into four granite basins that is still listed on the monument: ice water. A surviving example of Victorian-era public drinking fountains, it was hoped at the time that it would be an alternative to nearby saloons. The fountain was moved twice as the city razed buildings and redirected the flow of traffic.
Now located in Richard Henry Park,
92nd Street and Exchange Avenue, Chicago, Illinois.
In 1909, Southeast Chicago residents complained about the lack of public art in their part of town and were able to get the fountain move to the location where it still stands in Richard Henry Park on 92nd Street and Exchange Ave. 

The Drake Fountain was designated a Chicago Landmark in 2004.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

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