Chicago: City Of Fountains

(CBS) — Buckingham Fountain is the crown jewel of Grant Park, but did you know it’s just one of 120 fountains that dot Chicago open spaces?

CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports.

Its majestic waters may be they city’s splashiest, but Buckingham Fountain certainly has plenty of company.

Chicago author Greg Borzo has immersed himself in Chicago’s fountains. He was surprised at the number.

“We have over 100 outdoor public fountains in Chicago,” he says.

One of the fountains, now outside the Chicago History Museum, is dedicated to Chicago’s children.

Commissioned by Mayor Jane Byrne, it originally stood at Wabash and Wacker before it was removed for street renovations. Under Mayor Daley, the fountain “went missing” for years, Borzo says.

Now in Lincoln Park, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union commissioned “Fountain Girl” for the 1893 World’s Fair.

“Their goal was to encourage people to drink water,” Borzo says.

Two metal drinking cups were attached to the statue, but that meant germs were spread.

“The shared cup became known as the ‘death cup’ and was finally banned in 1911,” the author says.

The fountain called Storks at Play actually features swans. It also features “merboys,” and the public in 1887 asked their private parts be covered up.

The Christopher Columbus statue that graces a fountain in Little Italy was cast in Italy and blessed by the pope before being unveiled at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago.

Borzo’s research can be found in his book “Chicago’s Fabulous Fountains.” He has a launch party Wednesday at the Harold Washington Library.

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