Everything You Need to Know About Fountains in Kansas City
From grand cascading centerpieces situated prominently along the city’s major thoroughfares to petite spouting statuary in quaint residential neighborhoods, each fountain represents a unique contribution to KC’s timeless moniker, the City of Fountains.
Kansas City’s first fountains date back to the late 1800s, where they served a purely utilitarian purpose: thirsty dogs, horses and birds drank water when passing to and through the city. Soon thereafter, the city began erecting drinking fountains—each with their own distinctive architectural styles, features and themes—over sparkling springs to provide its citizens with safe drinking water. Later on, enterprising individuals integrated sculpture into fountain designs to both beautify properties and add distinction.
Kansas City’s love affair with fountains has flourished ever since. Today, you’ll find hundreds of aquatic showpieces—large and small, artistically intricate and cleverly simple—gracing nearly every courtyard, parkland and tree-lined boulevard throughout the area.
Today I Learned is a blog series from Visit KC and the Kansas City Public Library that shines a light on the history of Kansas City, its culture and the trailblazers who helped shape the City of Fountains. We explored the history of KC’s many spouts to celebrate Fountain Day—and our beautiful City o...
J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain
One of the city’s most recognizable landmarks is the J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain, situated near the iconic Country Club Plaza. Built in Paris in 1910, it once adorned the estate of a New York millionaire.
The fountain was salvaged from a scrapyard in 1951 and brought to Kansas City. The larger-than-life equestrian figures are said to represent four rivers: the Mississippi; the Seine, flowing from east-central France; the Rhine, originating in the southeastern Swiss Alps; and the Volga, Europe's longest river, located in Western Russia.
Firefighters Fountain and Memorial
This stunning fountain and memorial serves as a tribute to the heroes who keep KC safe.
Every year in early April the city celebrates Greater Kansas City Fountain Day, when all 48 publicly-operated fountains spring back to life. This day represents a great source of pride for the comfort, energy and urban vitality they provide.
In 2019, Fountain Day falls on Tuesday, April 16.
While modern artists make waves each day, the city’s deep-seated cultural roots continue to add color to KC’s canvas, brush stroke after figurative brush stroke, creating a potent arts scene worth exploring many times over.