Everything you need to know about Fountain Day

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Fountain pic KCtoday

Heart eyes for the City of Fountains + our readers.

Table of Contents

We’re called the City of Fountains for a reason. Fountain Day is an important date here in Kansas City, with 200+ registered fountains in the area.

On Fountain Day, all 48 KCMO-operated fountains come alive for the season, marking the start of warmer days in KC. Tomorrow, April 16, is that special day. Here’s what you need to know to celebrate.

Water ‘bout the history?

The first fountains bubbled up out of need, not beauty, beginning as little more than public troughs. Western travelers in the 1800s would come through Kansas City needing a drink.

Then, landscape architect George Kessler designed the first city-built fountain at 15th Street and The Paseo. It was later destroyed, but his second fountain, built in 1899, still exists at 9th Street and The Paseo — as The Women’s Leadership Fountain. These works, part of the City Beautiful urban design movement at the time, inspired other local artists to get into the fountain business.

In 1973, the City of Fountains Foundation was born after a Hallmark executive traveled to Italy and found several fountains in less than ideal condition. That sparked the inspiration for the foundation to maintain KC’s beautiful fountains.

Need to know

When: Tuesday, April 16, 1-2 p.m.
Where: Northland Fountain, N. Oak Trafficway + Vivion Road
Why: The City of Fountains Foundation will set up on-site to sell products for its fundraising push. Funds raised go towards the foundation’s efforts to catalog, maintain, and elevate KC fountains.

Blue Fountain Mill Creek.jpg

It’s officially fountain season.

Photo by Kansas City Parks and Recreation

So... is it true?

We’ve all heard the legend of our City of Fountains moniker. Locals, say it with us: “Kansas City has the most fountains outside of Rome.” But is that history, or urban legend?

It’s hard to say, exactly — unless someone flies us out to Rome to do a count. According to the City of Fountain Foundation’s Linda Dillon in 2006, it’s true that Rome has fountains in the thousands. However, many of those have fallen into disrepair, meaning KC may have more working fountains than even the Eternal City.

Second place isn’t so bad. Give KC another 2,500 years, and we’ll catch up easy.

Favorite fountains

We asked: “What are your favorite fountains in Kansas City?”

You answered:

“The beautiful fountain at Ward Parkway & Meyer Boulevard is my favorite. I walk and drive by it every day and am reminded that the neighborhood pitched together to have the fountain repaired and upgraded several years ago. It’s a wonderful area to live in!” — Jan F.

NE Vivion Rd. and N. Oak Tfwy.— Reader, Dale R.

“My favorite has to be the Laura Conyers Smith Fountain at Loose Park. Not only is the fountain stunning, but its surroundings this time of year make it even better.” — City Editor Bella

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