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Grand Vision, Grand Return

By Paul B. Redman, on June 7, 2012

As we debut the largest project since our founder Pierre S. du Pont’s passing in 1954, I am filled with gratitude, awe, and excitement. Watching the Main Fountain Garden revitalization over these last few years has been humbling, to say the least.

This project represents the very best of what Longwood does so well—bringing together experts in landscape architecture, conservation, design, horticulture, engineering, hydraulics, and countless sub-specialties from soil science to theatrical lighting to create sheer beauty. We started many years ago planning and discussing how best to preserve, restore, and enhance these fountains, the centerpiece of our renowned fountain collection. In September 2014, we finally took the plunge and started the revitalization process. Layer by layer, we worked through the project, keeping our Gardens open and allowing our guests into the process with us. We all watched as the site was excavated and new underground infrastructure was put in place. Restored stonework and landscaping followed. When the fountain testing began this spring the excitement was palpable throughout the Gardens. And now that we’ve successfully completed this complex project we are ready to do what we do best—welcome you to enjoy the Gardens.

One of the things I’m most excited about is the way the Main Fountain Garden invites you in. New paths and allées and improved accessibility lead you into the heart of the garden to get up close to the fountains and view the exquisite details of the restored Italian limestone carvings. New seating invites you to linger. The Fountain Terrace, closed to guests for a generation, is open and accessible from multiple points, including a new outdoor elevator. It brings back the thrilling experience of watching shows literally surrounded by fountains and gazing back across the garden to a spectacular view of the Conservatory.

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When we embarked on this project, preserving the legacy of our founder was front of mind for everyone involved. Pierre was a visionary who embraced experimentation and I am confident that, if he were alive today, he would be very pleased with the outcome of the revitalization project. His innovative spirit is evident in the improved fountain design, which features new jets that sway and dance to the music, a stunningly vibrant LED lighting system, and gorgeously choreographed shows that are programmed using the latest technology and visualization software.

There is so much to explore in the Main Fountain Garden and I look forward to hearing what parts you enjoy most.

I am filled with gratitude for our staff and team of consultants who brought this project through each of its phases to a successful completion. I am in awe of the final result. And now, with great excitement, we open the Main Fountain Garden and present a Summer of Spectacle for you to enjoy.