The bronze figures on horseback and children riding fish that are part of the J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain near the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Mo., will be removed Wednesday for an extensive renovation.
"This is the iconic fountain for Kansas City," says Jocelyn Ball-Edson, landscape architect for the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department. "We have a lot of fountains. We love them all, but this is probably the one that gets the most photography and the most visibility."
Just as many fountains as Rome? Perhaps. Whether Kansas City meets or falls short of these accolades the fountains, which began as a practical tool for keeping horses hydrated, have turned into a unique symbol of regional identity and pride.
But, these fountains are at risk. With decreasing city parks budgets maintaining these iconic fountains has been difficult. Currently, over half are in need of maintenance and a fourth are in critical condition.
By Tomeka Weatherspoon, Andrea Silenzi, Charlie Upchurch & Jabulani Leffall
On Thursday's Central Standard, we dive into our first of three programs exploring how we seek out water in this part of the country. First up: fountains. Learn how to get involved in our photography contest, and our interactive water map.
If you live in KC, you’d have to drive hours to see the nearest waterfall. At least eight hours to sail on one of the Great Lakes. Drive a thousand miles to see the nearest ocean… water is an exotic luxury in this middle-American city. Is that why we’ve got all these fountains around?