Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Bit of Kansas City Culture

I was recently asked to fill out a personal survey and one of the questions posed was "what do you like best about your hometown?". Without hesitation, the answer came to me: THE FOUNTAINS!

Kansas City is known as the City of Fountains, and ranks second in the world only to Rome, Italy! Summertime in this wonderful city is a sight to behold as you drive around the entire metropolis. We have over 200 fountains in varying size, detail and magnificence.

I'd love to share some of my favorites:
The most famous fountain in Kansas City is appropriately named J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain for the builder and architect of our wonderful Plaza. The figures were originally created by French sculptor Henri-Léon Gréber in 1910 for "Harbor Hill," the estate of Clarence Mackay in Roslyn, New York. The four allegorical equestrian figures reportedly represent four great rivers of the world — the Mississippi River, Volga River, Seine River, and Rhine River. The work is enlivened by sculptures of little children riding dolphins in the pool surrounding the main figures.

Although known as Pan Fountain, this sculpture is more likely to be the personification of the Greek god Bacchus holding court. The 10 thousand pound lead sculpture was purchased by the Nichols Company in 1960 and found this suitable home on the Plaza. Bacchus is surrounded by nymphs and satyrs in the center of Chandler Court near the Swanson's building on the Plaza.

Diana, the Roman goddess of the moon, is surrounded by cherubs and is positioned in front of a hotel overlooking the Plaza. The waterfall is 17' tall and 56' wide.


The Mermaids Fountain on the Plaza has 2 mermaids, each blowing into a shell that sends a single stream of water into the pool.



This one is the Volker Memorial Fountain, in memorial to William Volker an equestrian figure of St. Martin of Tours, who had done much to enrich the city. To add a touch of humor, the scupltor has an angel playing the flute from the wrong end and carved a wristwatch on another angel.

Henry Wollman Block Memorial Fountain, honors the co-founder of H&R Block, Inc. - the fountain is located outside of Union Station, which was restored to it's original glory from years past, when it was the railroad hub of the city.

The Muse of the Missouri personifies a goddess bestowing her interest and guidance on the Missouri River.

Also on the Plaza, this fountain depicts Neptune, god of the sea, with three mythological sea horses in movement.




Pomona Fountain depicts the Roman goddess and protector of gardens.



This is the largest and only memorial in the United States dedicated to those who served in WWI and its museum is the only one whose sole theme is that war.

The Firefighters Fountain commemorates the city's firefighters, and memorializes those who have given their lives in the line of duty.

I've given you a brief inside peek at some of the beauty, showing you a few of my favorite spots around town. I could go on and on but at the risk of boring you to death, let me close by showing you my ultimate hands-down favorite fountain in our great city -

Called the Childrens Fountain, it features six sculptures of local children at play. It is one of Kansas City's largest fountains and the dedication reads: "The bronze figures represent children everywhere to whom this fountain is dedicated and the activities that shape young lives making childhood a joy." The figures, from tallest to shortest represent: joy, meeting challenges, ballerina, soccer player, hand-stand boy, girl walking.









             Can you tell I'm ready for summer?

5 comments:

Tina said...

I really enjoyed this fountain tour.
I'd love to see them in person sometime.
I especially liked the children's fountain. So carefree and playful looking.
T

Doreen said...

What beautiful fountains..thanks for sharing all these great pictures with us.

Love your new "raven" for tdipt!

:)Smiles,
Doreen

Patti said...

Wow! I never knew! Thanks so much for sharing!They are all just beautiful, I can almost hear the water splashing... oh wait, that's the drinking fountain down the hall (ggg)

Blessings, Patti

Dogpatch Primitives said...

I NEVER knew! How exciting, I just love all of these fountains!

Thanks for sharing :)

Patty

disa said...

I love it ! Very creative ! That's actually really cool Thanks.