It's getting to be that time of year again. As the temperature falls, the water freezes, and fountains are put out of business--inlcuding Chicago's highest-profile fountain.
The Chicago Park District will shut down Buckingham Fountain for its 85th season Tuesday. It will reopen in the spring, but for anyone wanting to catch a glimpse of the landmark in working order this fall, Tuesday will be the last day to do so.
On Tuesday evening, engineers will open the main drain valve allowing all the water to flow into the sewer for overnight drainage. The next day, about a group of about 30 people, including engineers, plumbers and electricians, will clean the entire fountain. Plumbers flush all the water out of the drains using air compressors, while the electricians work to remove any and all light fixtures from the fountain.
Once the fountain is closed, the crew checks up on it once every couple of days, which means checking the pump room on the southeast corner of the block, where the three engines that power the fountain are located.
Assistant Press Secretary Zvezdana Kubat said the fountain's reopening depends on "our wonderful Chicago weather," factoring in spring temperatures and severity of winter.
"It's an iconic gem," she said of the fountain. "So taking care of it is a full-time job."
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