Beauty Springs eternal on Cliff Drive

Michael Bushnell
Northeast News

“Fountain and Cliff Drive, North Terrace Park, Kansas City Missouri.”

So reads the description on this divided back, hand-colored postcard published around 1910. This view was captured looking west from the fountain, obviously during the winter months, given the stark lack of vegetation on the trees lining the drive.

Originally designed by noted landscape architect George Kessler, North Terrace Park, Cliff Drive and its many springs were an integral part of Historic Northeast life for many years. People from throughout the Midwest enjoyed drives along the rugged bluffs overlooking the Missouri River bottoms.

The spring, as shown here, is located on the east end of Cliff Drive. The image depicts how the spring looked after the city’s Parks Department “tapped” the spring, creating this shell and bowl, making it easier for passers-by to drink the cool spring water that flowed from the fountain. The shell, however, was covered in the 1970s after it was found that the spring water had been contaminated.

During a mid-1980s, a makeover spearheaded primarily by concerned Historic Northeast residents gave the spring a new shape — that of a spectacular waterfall.

In the late 1990s, the fountain was christened as the Carl DiCapo Fountain, paying tribute to the former Historic Northeast resident and long-time downtown restaurateur.

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