WICKER PARK — The Gurgoyle Fountain in Wicker Park is currently getting a major upgrade.
The Wicker Park Bucktown Special Service Area No. 33, a special taxing district, is partnering with Chicago Park District preservation architect Michael Fus to repaint, repair and reconstruct the fountain. The group gave a $67,000 grant to the Conservation of Sculpture & Objects Studio to complete the work.
Weather permitting, by the end of July, visitors to the park will notice the following improvements:
- Removal of old paint and corrosion from Gurgoyle Fountain and its four cast iron urns
- Repainting and resealing the fountain and urns to protect against future damage
- Reconstruction of the top ornament on the fountain, which had broken over the years
In an April interview with Block Club, SSA No. 33 chairman David Ginople described the park as the “epicenter of the neighborhood” — drawing young kids playing sports, people sunbathing in the summertime and parents pushing their babies in strollers.
“It’s a very popular meeting spot,” he said. “The restoration of the fountain, in my mind, is more about legacy making. … As a commission, we felt that the preservation of the fountain was a good investment in the neighborhood’s future.”
The original cast iron Gurgoyle Fountain was created and installed in 1895 by J.L. Motts Iron Works. It was given the name “Gurgoyle,” the Spanish variant of gargoyle, because that was in more popular use in 1895.
In 1908, the fountain was removed and a wading pool for children was installed in its place. A replica of the 1895 Gurgoyle Fountain was reinstalled in 2002 by Robinson Iron, cast from the original fountain molds
Tuesday’s restoration isn’t the first time the fountain has seen some love.
In 2007, the SSA partnered with the Wicker Park Advisory Council to fund the purchase of eight white urns that mark the four entrances to the fountain court, as well as twelve historic benches.
The goal of the 2019 restoration is to make the fountain look “like new,” SSA No. 33 spokesperson Elizabeth Neukrich said.
“Once completed, the Gurgoyle Fountain will appear as it did when it was reinstalled in 2002,” she said.
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