Legion fountain and Van Brunt icon

PC-american legion fountain.jpg

By MICHAEL BUSHNELL
Northeast News
December 11, 2013

Originally designed as an ornate drinking fountain by noted Kansas City Sculptor Robert Merril Gage, the American Legion Fountain was a fixture at Ninth and Main streets for almost 40 years before being moved to Van Brunt Boulevard and Budd Park Esplanade in the heart of Historic Northeast Kansas City. The elegant limestone fountain consisted of a large, carved basin supporting an eight-foot tall square shaft, topped with eagles on each side. Bronze plaques bearing friezes of American Doughboys in action were inlaid on opposite sides of the shaft. Names of the American Legion Posts and those members who were sacrificed during World War I are carved in stone: “Dedicated by Kansas City to the American Legion Posts, October 31 – November, 1921. William T. Fitzsimmons, Murray Davis, William J. Bland, Joseph Dillon, Arthur Maloney, Sanford M. Brown Jr., James Cummins, Joseph Liebman, Hewitt Swearingen, Wayne Minor.”

The fountain’s location became a topic of controversy during the late 1950s, as pedestrians had to cross busy streets, often risking life and limb in order to fetch a sip or two of cold water. In 1959, the Parks Department moved the fountain to its present location. In 2002 the fountain was struck by an errant motorist, and it was carted off in pieces and stored for repairs. Finally, in May 2006, the American Legion Fountain was returned to public view, fully repaired and restored to its original splendor. Parks Department North Region Manager Michael Herron indicated that over $25,000 was spent on the work, which included masonry and plumbing.

This sepia-toned postcard showing the fountain at its original location was published by John Straley of Kansas City. Straley published a series of black and white postcards of a number of locations throughout Kansas City from his apartment at 213 N. Mersington Ave. here in Historic Northeast.

Comments are closed.

  • Memories of the 1908 flood

    17 hours ago
    by

    By M. Bushnell The Northeast News This week’s postcard shows the result of countless days of rain and the lack […]


    “One of the greatest playgrounds in America”

    August 16th, 2017
    by

    by Michael Bushnell Northeast News The description inside this vintage 1930s Curt Teich linen postcard folder of the Lake of […]


    The Mother Of All Rallies

    August 9th, 2017
    by

    By Michael Bushnell Northeast News In honor of the 77th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in the Black Hills of South […]


    Orange Crate Carpenters

    August 2nd, 2017
    by

    This week, in place of our weekly Historic Postcard feature we publish the final installment of a four-part series of […]


    A Dime and the Dinky

    July 26th, 2017
    by

    This week, in place of our weekly Historic Postcard feature we publish the third of a four-part series of short […]


  • The Alleys of Childhood

    July 12th, 2017
    by

    Northeast News July 5, 2017 This week, in place of our weekly Historic Postcard feature, we begin a four-part series […]


    City Hall once stood at the City Market

    July 5th, 2017
    by

    By Michael Bushnell Northeast News June 21, 2017 In 1889, when cattle, pigs and all manner of livestock still roamed […]


    Hahatonka an oasis from city life

    June 28th, 2017
    by

    By Michael Bushnell Northeast News June 21, 2017


    A grand old flag with a grand old history

    June 21st, 2017
    by

    By Michael Bushnell Northeast News June 21, 2017 During the American Revolution, a number of patriots made flags for our […]


    Early 1900s school site is now interstate interchange

    June 14th, 2017
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News June 14, 2017 This view of The Paseo, between 15th and 16th streets, looks north […]


  • What’s Happening

    Northeast Chamber’s incubator hatches with pop-up event

    Paul Thompson Northeast News Several area businesses convened at the Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Global Growth (EGG) […]

    retorts illustrated by bryan stalder

    Powerful storms lead to rise in Blue River

    By Michael Bushnell Northeast News These photos and video were taken on the afternoon of Tuesday, August 22, on the […]

  • Local Weather