The Children’s Fountain, 1982
At the northeast corner of Clark Street and North Avenue
Chicago’s first female mayor, Jane Byrne, played an active role in the creation of this fountain. Originally located on Wacker Drive at Wabash, Byrne worked with Robinson Iron in Alexander City, Alabama, to create a playful piece that would excite the imagination of the city’s children, but also be worthy of the prominent location.
Dedicated in 1982, the fountain includes four tiers of musical instruments, playful children and arching cranes. Robinson Iron is known for purchasing Victorian era patterns and molds and creating new combinations, as is demonstrated in this piece. Constructed on-site in the original location, the cast iron and cast aluminum fountain was later dismantled and stored when Wacker Drive reconstruction began in 2001.
The Chicago Department of Transportation and Chicago Park District worked together with Robinson Iron to restore the fountain, including recasting damaged and missing pieces. It was put into its current location near the Chicago History Museum in 2005. The antique green verdegris now appears much darker on the restored version than the original, making it difficult to see the ornate detail on the 30-foot fountain.