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South Loop

Popular Printers Row Fountain Being Restored In South Loop Park

The 24-year-old fountain will receive lighting upgrades, pipe replacements and other cosmetic work.

The Printers Row Fountain will be getting a little work done for the first time in 24 years.
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SOUTH LOOP — The Printers Row Fountain is getting a six-figure facelift, thanks to the Printers Row Park Advisory Council, the Chicago Park District and Ald. Sophia King (4th).

The park advisory council began restoration efforts in September, launching a crowdsourcing campaign to defray the cost of the project with the goal of raising $110,000 to upgrade the lighting, repair pump and pipes, replace colored enamel reliefs and polish the fountain’s bronze highlights.

The fountain, located inside Printers Row Park, 632 S. Dearborn St., was designed by Edward Winhurst in 1999.

It is unclear if the park advisory council met its goal; members couldn’t be reached for comment. But King confirmed that her office would be matching the park district’s $10,000 contribution.

“It was a big priority for the park advisory council, and we’re happy to add resources. Beautification is important, and it brings safety and other positive things to the neighborhood,” said King.

Tours With Mike Founder Mike McMains, who hosts virtual tours of Printers Row, views the fountain and the park surrounding it as a symbol of stability for a neighborhood once in decline.

Home to printing companies like R.R. Donnelly and Sons and Rand McNally, Printers Row was the printing hub of the Midwest until technological advancements made it easier for publishers to move elsewhere. 

“After the decentralization of printing going out to the suburbs, through the 1960s and 1970s it became Skid Row — all the shorter buildings that were completely barren and dilapidated are all torn down. Some of those buildings were on the site that is now Printers Row Park. When the park was built in the 1980s, it was sort of a ‘coming out’ party,” said McMains.

Formerly Park No. 543, the official name change wasn’t finalized until February 2021. Printers Row Park is home to the Printers Row Lit Fest and a farmer’s market.

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