Francis M. Drexel Memorial Fountain

In 1881, the South Park Commissioners accepted the gift of the Drexel Fountain from Francis A. and Anthony J. Drexel. The two brothers commissioned the $40,000 sculptural fountain to honor the memory of their father, Francis M. Drexel (1792–1863), a Philadelphia banker and real estate speculator. Drexel helped spur the early growth of the Chicago’s South Side by donating local property that he had purchased in the 1840s so that it could be developed as a street. His sons believed the monument to be especially fitting because the South Park Commissioners had recently renamed an existing pleasure drive east of Washington Park as Drexel Boulevard.

Soon after the renaming of the boulevard, the Drexel brothers hired Henry Manger, a German immigrant who had setted in Philadelphia, to create the fountain. The elaborate bronze and granite ornamental fountain includes a figurative sculpture of Francis M. Drexel above an upper basin. A four-sided bronze pedestal below has intricate bas-relief sculptural panels featuring Neptune riding a dolphin, a harvest goddess gathering grain, and other scenes. In 1888, six years after the installation of the monument, the Drexel brothers spent an additional $5000 to enlarge the fountain and provide jets to allow water to run continuously.

In 1999, the PBC made significant repairs to the historic Drexel Fountain as part of a city-wide fountain program. Today, the Drexel Fountain is the oldest existing public sculpture in any of Chicago’s parks.

Mid-North Triangle Park Fountain

Mid-North Triangle Park–once known as the Belden Triangle–is one of the city’s oldest open spaces, dating back to the late 1840s. Although it has always been a triangular parcel, the design of the small park has changed many times over the years.

In 1998, as part of the Public Fountain Program, the Public Building Commission made major improvements to this park, including the construction of this pre-cast concrete fountain and surrounding pavers. The fountain has a circular basin with a ribbed pattern on its outside wall. An urn sits atop a pedestal in the center of the basin. This fountain was constructed as part of the 1998 Fountain Program.

Mariano Park Fountain

In 1998, the Public Building Commission of Chicago began a neighborhood beautification project with the goal of constructing or repairing eighteen fountains throughout the city. Mariano Park, a tiny green space in Chicago’s Near North neighborhood, was one of the sites selected for a new fountain.

The Public Building Commission selected the Robinson Iron company’s Botanic Gardens Fountain and installed it near the park’s historic Prairie Style shelter which was designed by architect Birch Burdette Long. Composed of a cast iron urn that gently drips water into a lower basin, the decorative fountain has a low cast concrete knee wall, on which people can sit. The park improvements included new brick paving, vintage style lighting fixtures, and modern benches.

Bixler Park: Phil Richman Memorial Fountain

In 1998, the Public Building Commission began a neighborhood beautification project with the goal of creating and/or repairing eighteen fountains throughout Chicago. Bixler Park, a one-acre green space adjacent to William H. Ray School, was one of the sites selected for a new fountain. Composed of pre-cast concrete, the decorative fountain has a circular basin, with a low coping on which people can sit. Water sprays from a jet in the center of the basin.

Bixler Park’s fountain was dedicated to Phil Richman (1923 – 1998), publicist for Hyde Park’s 57th Street Art Fair and an avid supporter of the arts. It was Mr. Richman’s idea to install a fountain in Bixler Park.