Washington Square Park
The 3-acre Washington Square Park sits just south of the Newberry Library. The American Land Development Company donated the land to the City of Chicago in 1842 for a public park. It hoped to make the area more attractive for high-end residential development. While its intentions were good, the Company probably never envisioned that the park would be a center for boisterous vocal debate, attracting what today might be described as left-wingers and Occupy Wall Street types. The resulting racket probably was not the first preference of local residents.
To make the water dance, the fountain relies on pulsating rhythms rather than jets. If it were located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, many residents might confuse it as a Claus Oldenburg take on an old-fashioned bubbler. For those not from Milwaukee, a bubbler is a drinking fountain.
Chicago Alderman McCormick donated $600 to fund what was the second fountain to occupy this site. It was in the Victorian style. That fountain was removed in the Seventies, but a reconstructed historic fountain returned to the site in the Nineties, together with new lighting, fencing, and floral designs.
Designer Jens Jensen incorporated Beaux-Arts-Neoclassical stylings into his plan. The park was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991.
The park is nicknamed Bughouse Square, which is discussed in an earlier post.