Did You Know...
1. Like other great cities of the world, such as Paris and Rome, Kansas City is a city with many fountains-both public and private. More are being added all the time making it impossible to give an exact count.
2. In the 19th Century, Kansas City's first fountains were erected over springs to provide clean drinking water for humans and animals.
3. In 1904 a contagious disease began running rampant through the horse population and caused the Fire and Water Board to shut off the water supply to the animal fountains. Women from the Humane Society held a fund-raising campaign to erect more hygienic fountains.
4. Some of statuary that is located in Kansas City is over 300 years old.
5. In 1927 Mrs. Jacob Loose donated land for one of the most beautiful parks in the heart of Kansas City. It was a memorial to her husband, who made his fortune with the Loose Wiles Biscuit Company that became part of the Sunshine Biscuit company. His statue, a larger than life-size bronze sits on a polished, granite base at the east entrance to the Park. The east 80 acres of Loose Park, at 51st and Wornall Road, including a small lake, had been the original site of the Kansas City Country Club. Mrs. Loose insisted that the park be used as a quiet, restful retreat and a playground for children.
6. At the west entrance to Swope Park, Meyer Blvd. and Swope Parkway, you will find a flagpole, donated by Jacob Loose in 1915. It stands over 178 feet high and was the tallest unguided flagpole in the U.S. when it was installed. It originally was 200 feet tall, but over the decades, wind and weather and and airplane (which crashed into it) shortened the height. Steeplejack Jim Phelan renovated the memorial flagpole in 2010 and 2011.
7. A marker at 63rd & Paseo designates the site of the decisive engagement of the Battle of Westport, the largest Civil War battle west of the Mississippi, fought October 21-23, 1864. Several Battle of Westport markers can be found in and around Loose Park elsewhere in the city.
8. One of two "Avenue of Trees" is located on the east and west sides of the Liberty Memorial Drive. The first planting was in 1930 and subsequent plantings have occurred over the years to remember those killed in war.The second "Avenue of Trees" is on Ward Parkway from Meyer Boulevard south to 75th Street. Here, the gateway and 440 trees were dedicated to the men and one woman from Kansas City, MO killed in WWI. The Elizabeth Benton Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution donated the plaques on the stone walls at Meyer Circle in 1930. The Kansas City Chapter of the DAR donated the flagpole in l940.
9. In April 1968 a memorial was erected in memory of Salvatore Grisafe, a 17-year-old civilian who was killed preventing the robbery of two women. The memorial, at 16th & Paseo, reads: "DEDICATED TO THOSE.CITIZENS WHO BELIEVE IN THE PRINCIPLES OF LAW, ORDER AND GOOD CITIZENSHIP AS BEST EXEMPLIFIED BY SALVATORE GRISAFE:"
10. The Northland Fountain, at North Oak Trafficway and Vivion Road flows year-round and forms a winter ice sculpture that changes with the weather. It is known as the "Spirit of Cooperation" because it illustrates the unified efforts of the public and private sectors who worked together to raise funds for the fountain.
11. The "Eternal Flame" is a memorial to John F. Kennedy. It was dedicated in 1965 and is located north of the Concourse Fountain at Gladstone & Benton Blvd.
12. In 1974, The City of Fountains Foundation and the Kansas City Parks and Recreation identified 100 possible sites for new fountains.
13. The "Pioneer Mother" located on a hill in Penn Valley Park is an impressive 16,000 pound bronze statue that depicts the hardships of the Pioneers. Howard Vanderslice, an early member of the Kansas City Art Commisson hired Alexander Proctor to sculpt the massive sculpture to commemorate the Pioneers, including his parents, who crossed the plains as settlers..
14. Cyrus Dallin sculpted the Indian "Scout" in Penn Valley Park and also "Massasoit", the bronze statue of the indian chief of the Wampanoags located at 47th and Main. Massasoit befriended the Pilgrims after they landed at Plymouth rock, Massachusetts in 1620.
15. Swedish sculptor, Carl Milles, based his memorial to William Volker, located at Volker Blvd. and Oak, on the legend of St. Martin of Tours, who shared his cloak with a beggar. To add a touch of humor, Milles has carved a wristwatch on one of the angels. Volker's gifts to the city over his lifetime were estimated at $10 million.
16. Originally located on an estate in Warwickshire, England, the mythical group of Bacchus, surrounded by nymphs and satyrs, is now in the center of Chandler Court at 47th and Wyandotte.
17. Workmen at a salvage company found the Neptune Fountain on the top of a train car full of scrap metal. Miller Nichols purchased it for the price of scrap metal and placed it on the Country Club Plaza.
18. The Eagle monument, located at Ward Parkway and 67th Street, originally stood in the courtyard of a Japanese temple and then as a guard outside the Japanese exhibit at the St. Louis World's Exposition in 1904. It was installed in Kansas City in 1935.
19. The Eagle Scout Memorial fountain at 39th and Gillham Road was once located at the Seventh Avenue entrance of the Pennsylvania Railroad Station in New York City.
20. There are two memorials to Dr. William T. Fitzsimons, the first American officer to give his life in World War I. Both are on Paseo-one at 12th Street and the other at Volker Blvd.The latter, the Fitzsimons-Battenfeld Monument, honors Fitzsimons and Jesse Battenfeld, Jr., a naval flight surgeon killed during WWII.
21. One of this country's finest World War I monuments, Kansas City's Liberty Memorial (1926) sited across the street from Union Station, houses the National World War I Museum, which opened in 2006.
22. Water spills out of the mouths of fish caught in the net of the Muse of the Missouri at 8th Street and Main. Notice the fish are hybrids with a bluefish's head on a carp's body.
23. Thomas Swope, who donated two square miles of land to the city for a park, died in 1909 at the age of 82. His death resulted in a murder trial that received national attention and was never resolved. He was finally buried in 1918 under a stone slab in the floor of the Thomas H. Swope Memorial near the Swope Memorial Golf Course.
24. The J. C. Nichols Memorial Fountain has four equestrian figures that are said to represent four rivers: the Mississippi River (the Indian riding the horse and beating off an alligator), the Volga River (the horseman fighting with the bear), the Seine and the Rhine rivers on the east and west sides of the fountain.
25. On the Country Club Plaza a life-size bronze sculpture of a young man eating America's favorite hamburger sits on a large rock, reading a book entitled "There's no such thing as a free lunch".
26. The statue representing Faith, on top of the Giralda Tower on the Plaza, acts as a weather vane in the original tower in Seville, Spain. Kansas City's copy is one-half the size of the one in Spain. In the early days, the Spaniards would ride a horse up the ramp inside the tower and turn the statue to point to the direction of an enemy attack.
27. A small statue on the Plaza entitled "April" represents a pre-schooler with a spirit of discovery as she pours water from a watering can onto a bunch of spring flowers. It was sculpted by Santa Fe artist Glenna Goodacre, who also did the Vietnam Women's Memorial on the National Mall in Washington D.C.
28. You can sit beside Benjamin Franklin on his bench at 47th and Pennsylvania and read the U. S. Constitution. Two doves are perched on the back of the bench, as well.
29. The Boy and Frog Fountain, made of bronze and Verona marble, is an original by Rafaello Romanelli of Florence, Italy. It was purchased in 1929.
30. At the corner of Wornall Rd. and Ward Parkway is a large man-made waterfall, and it serves as a backdrop for the statue of Diana. Cherubs surround the Roman goddess of the moon.
31. L.E. "Gus" Shaefer used his own face as a model for the Wagon Master just west of the Intercontinental Hotel on the Plaza. You can access a recording with your cell phone and learn about the Wagon Master and the Civil War battle which took place in the area where the hotel is now located.
32. Private fountains came into fashion on the east and west coasts, and Kansas City as well, in the late 1800's. J.C.Nichols, prominent real estate developer, began using fountains and sculpture to beautify his properties and set them apart from the industrial downtown in the 1930's.
33. The Sea Horse Fountains on the south side of City Hall at 12th and Oak were named "Cut" and "Lug" by city employees when they were installed. The fountains were turned off for a few years during World War II as a conservation effort.
34. Tom Corbin, who designed the Children's Fountain, on North Oak Trafficway, used local children as his models. There is a girl name Joy, a boy on crutches called "Meeting Challenges", a girl ballerina, a boy playing soccer, a boy doing a handstand, and a girl with pigtails who is wading. The fountain was restored in 2015.
35. The City of Fountains Foundation was organized in 1973 to obtain funds to build new fountains and establish endowments to make major repairs to the fountains.