Renovations to Iconic Kansas City Fountain

Ken Caton

Renovations are in progress on Kansas City’s most photographed fountain.  JC Nichols Memorial Fountain on the Country Club Plaza, which was dyed blue this past October in honor of the Kansas City Royals’ epic World Series run, is undergoing substantial renovations this off-season.  The Waters Edge Aquatic Design team is honored to be a part of this exciting project.  Our engineers and designers were commissioned by the City to ensure the renovations to the historic fountain are properly designed and restored.

JC Nichols Fountain was originally named Mackay Fountain on the Harbor Hills estate in New York for the Mackay family.  Due to the stock market crash in 1929, the Harbor Hills estate went under ruins and the fountain was vandalized.  Marjorie and Morton Singer, a residence nearby, bought one of the original dolphin sculptures from the Mackay estate.  Eventually, the Singers retired in Florida where one of the original dolphin sculptures resided for years.

The remaining sculptures in the Harbor Hills estate made its way to Kansas City in 1959.  The fountain was rebuilt and later named JC Nichols Fountain.  All of the sculptures were accounted for except the one owned by the Singer’s.  Local Kansas City artist Herman Frederick Simon recreated a dolphin sculpture in place of the original one.

In 2008, Kansas City eventually took ownership of the missing dolphin sculpture owned by the Singer’s.  As part of the renovation, the “missing” dolphin will be replaced in its original location after more than 50 years and the replica will be moved and displayed by a new sidewalk addition as a part of an extensive renovation project.

JC Nichols Fountain is undergoing an extensive renovation which includes restoring the entire fountain basin, cleaning all of the statuary and capstones, installing one of the original dolphin sculptures that has been missing for over 50 years, and replacing all pedestals the sculptures sit on.  In addition, there will be a new sidewalk extension on the NE side of the fountain displaying the dolphin replica.  Here, visitors will be able to see the replica up close in person and read about the history of Kansas City’s most iconic fountain.

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