J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain
Owner: City of Kansas City, MO; Maintained by City of Kansas City, MO Parks & Recreation Department
Dates: Sculpted 1910, Installed and dedicated 1960, Renovated 2014
Artist: Henri Greber
The City of Fountains Foundation holds an endowment for this fountain.
The JC Nichols Memorial Fountain is the best known and most-photographed of all of Kansas City’s fountains. On any televised event from Kansas City, you can count on seeing a shot or footage of this fountain at some point. It sits at the south end of Mill Creek Park on the east side of Country Club Plaza.
The figures were sculpted by Henri Gerber in 1910 and adorned the mansion of Clarence Mackay in Long Island, New York. Over the years, the fountain was vandalized and parts went missing. The purchase and installation of the fountain was funded by the JC Nichols family, the city and private contributions, including a collection by school children in the Kansas City area. It was brought to Kansas City in 1951, refurbished by Herman Frederick Simon and dedicated in 1960.
The fountain has four heroic horsemen which are said to represent four of the world’s mighty rivers: the Mississippi, the Volga, the Seine and the Rhine. It also has four smaller figures of children playing on fish, commonly referred to as dolphins. However, one of the original four dolphins had gone missing prior to purchase and so a replica was commissioned.
The fountain underwent an extensive renovation in 2014 that was funded by the Miller Nichols Charitable Foundation. As part of the renovation, the missing dolphin was found and took its rightful place in the fountain. The replica dolphin now sits nearby on a concrete base with an accompanying plaque describing its history and the history of the original it replaced.