Buckingham Memorial Fountain and Chicago downtown at night

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Buckingham Memorial Fountain and Chicago downtown at night ( 640x480 )
Buckingham Fountain is one of the most famous Chicago’s attractions, as well as, one of the largest fountains in the world. It is located in Grant Park, at Columbus Drive (301 East) and Congress Parkway (500 South).

The Buckingham Memorial Fountain was designed by Edward H. Bennett. It represents the Lake Michigan. There are four sea horses that symbolize the four states located around the lake: Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. The sea horses were designed by Marcel Loyau. Bennett’s design was highly influenced by the Latona Basin in Louis XIV's gardens at Versailles. It was constructed of Georgia pink marble.

The structure was dedicated to the people of Chicago by Kate Buckingham, in memory of her brother Clarence. It was opened on May 26, 1927. Kate also established a $300,000 trust fund to ensure that the taxpayers would never have to cover all of the repair and upkeep costs associated with the fountain.

The fountain runs daily from mid April to mid December depending on weather, from 8.00 am to 11.00 pm. Every hour for 20 minutes the fountain produces a major water display. From the dusk and at night is this water display accompanied by a major light and music display (the fountain contains 820 lights). The fountain has 134 jets. The capacity of the fountain is 1.5 million gallons of water. Major displays use approximately 14,100 gallons of water per minute (this can change in dependence on the wind). Water is re-circulated from the base pool after the basins are filled.

As far as parameters of the Buckingham Memorial Fountain are concerned, the diameter of the bottom pool is 85 metres (280 ft), of the lower basin is 31 metres (103 ft), the middle basin is 18 metres (60 ft) in diameter and the upper basin is 7 metres (24 ft). The lip of the upper basin is 7.5 metres (25 ft) above the water in the lower basin. The underground pump room is 10 metres (35 ft) long, 7.5 metres (25 ft) wide and 7.5 metres (25 ft) high.

From some of the trivialities connected with Buckingham Memorial Fountain we could mention, that it is the original starting point for the classic US highway Route 66 that ran to Los Angeles, or that the fountain has an alarm system monitored from Honeywell Central Station in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

Chicago downtown is known also under the name Chicago Loop. It is the historical centre of Chicago. After Midtown Manhattan it is the second largest downtown in the United States.

The Loop is an official community area of Chicago.During years the downtown extended through the boundaries of the Loop. However, the term Loop is still used to name all the Chicago downtown, not just the official community area. Although, the Loop is, to some people, just that part of the downtown area where Chicago’s “L” trains are located.
Its boundaries are set by Chicago River in the west and north, Michigan Lake in the east and Roosevelt Road in the south. The area is 4.09 square kilometers (1.58 square miles) large. The population is over 16,000 people, with the population density a bit over 4,000 inhabitants per square kilometre.

There are mostly skyscrapers and high-risen buildings because of the lack of space. To the most notable belong the Home Insurance Building that is considered the first skyscraper and the highest building in the United States – Sears Tower. To other skyscrapers belongs 311 South Wacker Drive, AT&T Corporate Center, Aon Center or John Hancock Center.
Chicago downtown is also the part of the city where many of the government buildings are located, for example City Hall/County Building, the James R. Thompson Center, the Richard J. Daley Center, and multiple federal buildings.

The central role of this region is underlined also by the fact that Chicago's rational street numbering system originates here, at the intersection of State Street and Madison Street.

There are huge shopping possibilities in the area of Chicago downtown, with famous Marshall Field’s department store or original Carson Pirie Scott store. Also lots of hotels and restaurants are located here. Chicago's Downtown Theatre District is also found within this area.
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