KENNETT SQUARE, Pa. (WHTM) — Did you know that one of the largest fountain gardens in the United States is found here in Pennsylvania?
Longwood Gardens is known for its botanical gardens. Its lush pathways, long trails, and many different gardens make it a great place for a day trip. But the Main Fountain Garden is what attracts people from all over the world.
The first fountains on the property were created back in the early 1900s by Pierre S. du Pont, who was an American businessman. He purchased the land the gardens were on to save the trees on the property from being cut down.
du Pont had a love of fountains, which started with him seeing the huge display of water pumps at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. As an adult, he visited many European countries and World Fairs to get inspiration for his own garden. By 1906, he had already built an indoor conservatory and now wanted to build what would become one of the largest fountains in the world.
The first of his fountain gardens were constructed between 1925 and 1927. Now called the Italian Water Garden, it featured 600 water jets in nine separate displays. There were six blue-tiled pools, as well as 12 pedestal basins.
At the same time the Italian Water Garden was being built, du Pont built a large fountain jet at Peirec’s Park, and other fountains when du Pont replaced the water jets at the Open Air Theatre. That area has 750 illuminated jets that showcase a beautiful water ballet.
Between the years 1929 and 1931, du Pont built the Main Fountain Garden. The architecture of the garden showcased French baroque inspiration from his travels. The original jets were used from 1931 all the way until 2014. Evening displays of the fountains first began in 1955, with music being added in 1980.
The fountain was renovated beginning in 2014 and the renovation was completed in 2017. The garden featured a brand new infrastructure that was introduced but still kept all of the original architecture intact. The fountain’s pumping system can recirculate 30,000 gallons of water each minute through 1,719 jets and streams and is operated by 68 water pumps.
In the evening the gardens come to life as 1,000 LED lights illuminate the water fountains. Water can be shot up to 175 feet into the air. Some of the fountains even feature flames – some of which come out of 10-foot tall water jets.
Longwood Garden regularly showcases the fountains with fireworks and even drones in some performances.
More information about the gardens can be found here.