2018 IPPY Award Silver Medalist for Great Lakes Nonfiction
Winner, ISHS Annual Award for Other Publications, 2018
Most people do not realize it, but Chicago is home to many diverse, artistic, fascinating, and architecturally and historically important fountains. In this attractive volume, Greg Borzo reveals more than one hundred outdoor public fountains of Chicago with noteworthy, amusing, or surprising stories about these gems. Complementing Borzo’s engagingly written text are around one hundred beautiful fine-art color photos of the fountains, taken by photographer Julia Thiel for this book, and a smaller number of historical photos.
Greg Borzo begins by providing an overview of Chicago’s fountains and discussing the oldest ones, explaining who built them and why, how they survived as long as they have, and what they tell us about early Chicago. At the heart of the book are four thematic chapters on drinking fountains, iconic fountains, plaza fountains, and park and parkway fountains. Among the iconic fountains described are Buckingham (in Grant Park), Crown (in Millennium Park), Centennial (with its water cannon shooting over the Chicago River), and two fountains designed by famed sculptor Lorado Taft (Time and Great Lakes). Plazas all around Chicago—in the neighborhoods as well as downtown—have fountains that anchor communities or enhance the skyscrapers they adorn. Also presented are the fountains in Chicago’s parks, some designed by renowned artists and many often overlooked or taken for granted. A chapter on the self-proclaimed City of Fountains, Kansas City, Missouri, shows how Chicago’s city planners could raise public awareness and funding for the care and preservation of these important landmarks. Also covered are a brief period of fountain building and rehabbing (1997–2002) that vastly enriched the city; fountains that no longer exist; and proposed Chicago fountains that were never built, as well as the future of fountain design.
A beautiful photography book and a guide to the city’s many fountains, Chicago’s Fabulous Fountains also provides fascinating histories and behind-the-scenes stories of these underappreciated artistic and architectural treasures of the Windy City.