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Yesterday was the 150th birthday of Chicago sculptor Lorado Taft, the city’s most famous. On the occasion, Vicki and I visited his monumental work, The Fountain of Time, on the west end of Hyde Park’s Midway Plaisance. We were on a full day’s tour, called The Devil in the White City tour, led by historian Barbara Geiger. My I-Phone pic of the sculpture is attached.

We enjoyed the story of Taft’s employment of a number of young women sculptors to help get some work done for the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. It was highly unusual for women to do such work then. Fair organizer Daniel Burnham, hearing of Taft’s plan, was reported to have said, “I don’t care if he employs white rabbits, as long as he gets the work done.” The talented ladies were henceforth known as the “white rabbits.”

After more than a dozen years of work Taft’s Fountain of Time was unveiled in 1922. Based on poet Austin Dobson’s lines: “Time goes, you say? Ah no, Alas, time stays, we go.” the fountain shows a cloaked figure of time observing the stream of humanity flowing past.

April 2010

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