Fountain of the Great Lakes (1913)

by Lorado Taft

First unveiled in 1913 on the museum’s South Terrace, Lorado Taft’s Fountain of the Great Lakes was the Ferguson Fund’s first commissioned work. The fund was established in 1905 with the express purpose of embellishing Chicago’s public spaces with enduring works of art. Taft produced this statuary fountain to honor the region’s great natural resources. The five bronze female figures symbolize each of the Great Lakes, with the fountain mirroring the lakes’ tributary water flow, starting at Lake Superior and ending with Lake Ontario. In 1965, the fountain was moved from its original site adjacent to the Michigan Avenue building to its current location along the Morton Wing, due to the construction of that wing and the new South Stanley McCormick Memorial Court. The fountain remains one of Taft’s most popular works and a favorite spot to relax in our gardens.