The Fountainsof Kansas City

The first fountains in Kansas City were for horses, birds, and dogs serving a practical purpose. In 1883 the Humane Society of Kansas City was established to prevent cruelty to women, children, and animals. In 1904 they built Kansas City’s first fountain near the west end of the intercity viaduct, 3rd, and Minnesota. It has a large square pedestal with 4 small pools for dogs to drink from at street level and a 4′ diameter granite basin at a height for horses to drink. Water poured out of spigots inside the lions’ mouths down to a lower bowl for people to get fresh, clean water. The overflow spilled into street-level basins for cats and dogs. The fountain was transferred to 18th & Parallel and donated to the Wyandotte County Museum in 1967.

The popular Kansas City tagline, the “City of Fountains,” is said to have begun in the late 1950s and early 60s, when two significant fountains were dedicated to Kansas City.
The William Volker Memorial Fountain, dedicated to William Volker, a successful businessman who dedicated his life to public service, and J.C. Nichols, a real estate developer and businessman responsible for creating the first outdoor shopping district. Together, these two community figures brought attention to the importance of Kansas City’s fountains.

For decades, pennies and many a dollar have been cast into the fountains along with countless wishes. Kansas City’s fountains will always welcome your wishes opportunity for one more wish, and our wish is that more committed organizations and more visionary corporate and private citizens will get involved in celebrating, creating, and preserving our beloved fountains. 

It is important to slow down in today’s fast-paced world and appreciate our surroundings, like Kansas City’s fountains. Each fountain tells a story, bringing us moments of reflection, peace, and serenity.

Publicly-Owned FountainsRiver Market to Liberty MemorialMidtown FountainsCountry Club Plaza FountainsNelson-Atkins Museum of Art FountainsThe Paseo to Northeast FountainsNorthland FountainsSouth Plaza, Westwood, Brookside to Mission HillsKansas City Zoo, Swope Park and East of 71 Highway

Featured Fountains

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