Historic Philadelphia has announced plans to renovate the historic fountain in Franklin Square, introducing modern appeal to one of the city’s oldest landmarks. The fountain will be transformed into a multi-dimensional water show that includes music, lights, and choreographed jet patterns. Fluidity Design Consultants, a Los Angeles-based design and engineering firm with international experience, is designing the Franklin Square Fountain Show, which will feature five different water effects including air-powered nozzles, geysers, swivels, three-axis fan nozzles, and variojets. Mystical LED lighting and music that syncs with the water effects will also be incorporated to complement and enhance the visitors’ experience. The free attraction will have ongoing timed performances, offering guests plenty of opportunities to experience the magic by day and by night.
While the show will be new to Franklin Square, the fountain itself is the oldest city functioning public water fountain in the United States. Originally constructed in 1838 after Philadelphia City Council passed a resolution calling for a fountain of “grand dimensions,” the fountain has been a staple of history and tourism in Philadelphia. Since its induction, the Franklin Square fountain has been renovated several times, the most recent renovation taking place in 2006 when Historic Philadelphia, Inc. added new pumps, nozzles, and infrastructure to make the fountain operational after close to 30 years of non-use. Never before, however, has the fountain undergone such a major or modern makeover.
Construction, which began in October 2018, will be ongoing until summer 2019, when the official Franklin Square Fountain Show is scheduled to debut. Regular seasonal programming in Franklin Square, including the Franklin Square Holiday Festival, will run without interruption.
Financial assistance for The Franklin Square Fountain Show is provided by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Board of Directors of City Trusts, City of Philadelphia, Joanna McNeil Lewis and The Joanna McNeil Trust, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, Philadelphia Fountain Society, Tour de Shore Children’s Foundation, and William Penn Foundation.
Over 180 years have passed since the Philadelphia City Council first asked for a fountain to be built, but Historic Philadelphia is still answering their call. Without a doubt, the Franklin Square Fountain Show will be bigger, grander, and more dynamic than anything the City Council of 1838 could have dreamed of. Stay tuned for its opening, when Historic Philadelphia will not only be celebrating history but making it!
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