Splashes of Middle America

September 4, 2008 Updated: September 5, 2008

SHADY PLACE TO REST AWHILE: Four Fauns Fountain, Country Club Plaza displays four fauns arranged at the corners of a rectangular pool and each shoot a single stream of water from their hand.  (Cat Rooney/The Epoch Times)
SHADY PLACE TO REST AWHILE: Four Fauns Fountain, Country Club Plaza displays four fauns arranged at the corners of a rectangular pool and each shoot a single stream of water from their hand. (Cat Rooney/The Epoch Times)
Kansas City built the first one in 1899 and called it the Women's Leadership Fountain. Designed by the city's landscape architect, George Kessler, it was originally called the 9th Street Fountain. Then came the J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain in 1910, the William Fitzsimons, M.D. Memorial Fountain in 1917, and the Swope Park fountain in 1918.

ORNATE TRAFFIC ISLAND: A busy intersection on the Plaza is the setting for this ornate fountain. Sculptor Bernhard Zuckerman was commissioned to create an exact replica of the Plaza de Los Reyes fountain in Seville, Spain. The central shaft is 30' tall an (Cat Rooney/The Epoch Times)
ORNATE TRAFFIC ISLAND: A busy intersection on the Plaza is the setting for this ornate fountain. Sculptor Bernhard Zuckerman was commissioned to create an exact replica of the Plaza de Los Reyes fountain in Seville, Spain. The central shaft is 30' tall an (Cat Rooney/The Epoch Times)
Kansas City wasn't done yet. In the 1920s eight more fountains found homes on city blocks. Four more were built in the 1930s, one in 1942 and three in the 1950's. The 1960's saw a flurry of fountain building with ten. Four were built in the 1970's and five in the 1980's. The last two were built in the 1990's ending with the 1995 Children's Fountain which cost the city $2 million—a far cry from the first outlay of $4,115.

EQUESTRIAN FUGUES: The J. C. Nichols Memorial Fountain is to represent four rivers: the Mississippi River (the one with the Indian riding the horse and beating off an alligator), the Volga River (with the bear), the Seine and the Rhine.  (Cat Rooney/The Epoch Times)
EQUESTRIAN FUGUES: The J. C. Nichols Memorial Fountain is to represent four rivers: the Mississippi River (the one with the Indian riding the horse and beating off an alligator), the Volga River (with the bear), the Seine and the Rhine. (Cat Rooney/The Epoch Times)
The city has not gotten enough of fountain beauty, according to its dedicated website, and established “The City of Fountains Foundation, working with the Parks and Recreation Department of Kansas City, dedicated its efforts to enhancing Kansas City and its surrounding areas by encouraging the establishment of fountains.”

SCRAP PUT TO GOOD USE: The Neptune Fountain on the Plaza is a favorite. Miller Nichols purchased the 8,000-pound cast lead fountain for its weight in scrap metal. It was found on the top of a train car full of scrap metal by workmen at a salvage company.  (Cat Rooney/The Epoch Times)
SCRAP PUT TO GOOD USE: The Neptune Fountain on the Plaza is a favorite. Miller Nichols purchased the 8,000-pound cast lead fountain for its weight in scrap metal. It was found on the top of a train car full of scrap metal by workmen at a salvage company. (Cat Rooney/The Epoch Times)
Epoch Times reporter Cat Rooney captured the splish and splash of the city's watery tourist attraction.