Longwood Gardens’ Main Fountain Garden, is back after a more than two-year overhaul.
The Main Fountain Garden near Kennett Square, PA is a highlight of the attraction visited by more than 1.35 million people each year. Attendance has grown at Longwood, even with the closing of the fountain in late 2014 for the $90 million project.
The project also comes after awareness of massive fountains grew with the opening of the Bellagio in 1990s Las Vegas.
The fountains remain a top tourist attraction in the gambling and entertainment mecca.
In 1931, Longwood’s founder Pierre S. du Pont debuted the Main Fountain Garden, which was inspired by 20th century technology from the world’s fairs and in European gardens.
After more than 80 years, ,much of the fountain gardens’ stonework was in need of repair and the mechanical systems, which included the original pumps from 1931, needed updating.
Architecturally, the Main Fountain Garden is an Italian Renaissance-inspired expanse constructed on five acres with loggias, arches, and decorative sculptures.
Dressed in opulent horticulture, the landscape includes lawns, shaded alleés, and sculpted plantings returning the garden to its European roots. Several new elements including the Pumphouse Plaza and restored Fountain Terrace offer guests new vistas and access to the garden. Also added was a hidden grotto.
The revitalization includes more than four thousand pieces of carved,
ornamental limestone that were salvaged, cleaned, and repaired by stone carvers from around the world who recreated historic sculpture using traditional techniques and materials, including Italian limestone sourced from the original quarry.
The fountains “Legacy Displays” with a new suite of fountain effects including basket weave and flame nozzles. The production of light and sound shows are enabled by additional state-of-the-art technology systems.
Other new discoveries in the Main Fountain Garden include the welcoming Pumphouse Plaza and the Historic Pump Room & Gallery exhibit, which highlights the Garden’s original construction and showcases the original 18 pumps and mechanical systems that powered the fountains from 1931 to 2014.
The project was financed by Pierre duPont’s Longwood Foundation, which remains active in the philanthropic community in Delaware.
Throughout the Summer of Spectacle events, the gardens will be open 9 am to 6 pm Sunday–Wednesday, and 9 am to 10 pm Thursday–Saturdays for Illuminated Fountain Shows. Admission is by timed admission ticket only.
Members may visit anytime, but require free timed reservations if visiting after 5 pm, Thursday–Saturday evenings. To purchase tickets or make Member reservations, visitwww.longwoodgardens.org.