Chicago's Buckingham Fountain reopens after being vandalized, park district says

Fountain's pool water dyed red; pro-Palestinian graffiti found

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Sunday, June 23, 2024
Buckingham Fountain reopens after being vandalized: park district
Is Buckingham Fountain open? The Grant Park attraction at 300 South Columbus Drive reopened on Sunday after vandalism forced its closure Saturday.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Buckingham Fountain is on and fully operational on Sunday after vandalism forced its closure on Saturday, the Chicago Park District said.

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The traditional gateway to "Summertime Chi" was shut down after vandals dyed its pool water red. Pro-Palestinian graffiti was also discovered in and around fountain, located at 300 South Columbus Drive in Grant Park.

A crew member told ABC7 the fountain was more than halfway drained on Saturday afternoon. He was unsure of when the fountain would be turned back on.

Chicago's iconic Buckingham Fountain is closed Saturday after vandals appeared to have turned the water red.

Crews were working on finding the source of the dye and making sure it doesn't stain the fountain's marble stone.

Drone pictures show what appears to be the coloring pumped into Lake Michigan along the lakefront.

"It's obviously an iconic spot, you know? It's fantastic! Look at this," tourist Tom Martin said.

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Martin, from Washington state, is visiting Chicago for the first time. The city landmark was considered a must see for him and his wife.

"Well, I was disappointed. We walked quite a ways over here to see it because my wife had told me about it and that it was beautiful," Martin said. "I'm somewhat sympathetic to what they're trying to accomplish, but this is not the way."

A city crew worker who did not want to appear on camera called the situation unfortunate, saying the city has never seen this level of concentrated dye poured into the fountain.

Colin Hinkle

The crew member said it would take 16 hours to fully drain the million-and-a-half gallons of water. That process was more than halfway complete around 4:30 p.m. Then, the focus will turn to making sure that whatever the dye is, it does not absorb in the marble stone.

The crew member said luckily, the fountain was not on at the time, so the dye could not spread further and damage the water.

Police are working to find the culprit. So far no one is in custody.

"It's a beautiful city. It just is, and I hope the next time I come to Chicago, because I'll be back, I hope they got that fountain on," Martin said.