Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Independence Square Fountain (Fourth of July Fountain)


Independence Square Fountain (Fourth of July Fountain), 1902
Charles J. Mulligan
Independence Square
Douglas Boulevard, near 14th Street and Independence Boulevard

            Surrounded by fencing often laced with garbage, this fountain has been without water since at least the 1980s and the two bronze relief panels from the base are missing. The original bronze plaques depicted a mounted Indian facing colonial troops and the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The exuberance of the children perched atop a 15-foot granite base in the shape of the Liberty Bell belies the otherwise depressing condition of this once grand fountain. 
          Dressed in turn-of-the-century clothing and holding Roman candles that once served as sprays for the water, the children also hold a flag, bugle and drum in honor of old-fashioned Fourth of July celebrations. Approximately 10,000 people attended the dedication ceremony on July 4, 1902, which featured a 45-gun salute by the National Guard. Sculptor Lorado Taft was thrilled about the work, hailing it as the “beginning of real artistic decoration of public places in Chicago.”  

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