Drake Fountain

Drake Fountain, 1893
Richard Henry Park
East 92nd Street at South Chicago and Exchange Avenues

            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.  The 7 ½ foot bronze figure is of Columbus as a young man with globe in hand. The fountain is inspired by Gothic architecture and a small granite columns and curving buttresses rise up 33 feet to the pointed spire on top.
            Originally located downtown near City Hall, the fountain dispensed into four granite basins what 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 to different downtown locations as the city razed buildings and redirected the flow of traffic. 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. It was designated a Chicago landmark in 2004.
            The fountain was a gift to the city from hotelier John B. Drake, who was part owner of the Tremont Hotel and Grand Pacific Hotel. His sons were developers and proprietors of the Blackstone Hotel and Drake Hotel, both still in existence on Michigan Avenue. Artist Richard Henry Park (1832-1902)  is best known for his Actor’s Monument to Edgar Allen Poe in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. He is also known as the sculptor of a silver statue for Montana’s exhibit at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. Other works in Chicago include Benjamin Franklin in Lincoln Park and the Charles J. Hull Monument in Rosehill Cemetery. 

Other works that commemorate Christopher Columbus: 

No comments:

Post a Comment