Fountain Of Time

Chicago, IL

The Fountain of Time is the monumental realization of sculptor Loredo Taft. Taft’s dramatic 120-foot long procession of figures along the edge of a reflecting pool was expressively executed by John J. Earley in his unique form of cast-in-place exposed aggregate reinforced concrete in 1922.

After 75 years of the harsh Chicago environment, the fountain was showing serious signs of deterioration which posed a significant risk to its long-term stability.

In 1993, our senior conservator Joe Sembrat was part of a team that undertook the initial investigation to establish the primary causes of deterioration of the reinforcing iron rebar and decorative concrete finish. The investigation included research into the fountain design, construction, maintenance and previous restoration campaigns. John J. Earley’s original patent and construction practices were investigated, in addition to implementing investigative probes, monitoring cracks and environmental conditions, materials sampling, and providing a limited scope of cleaning and repairs utilizing methods and materials based on those of Earley.

This investigation marked the beginning of a lengthy period of study by conservators for the Chicago Park District leading up to an extensive restoration campaign that commenced in 2005.