KCMO Fountain Day Kicks Off 125th Anniversary

It’s time for a celebration 125 years in the making!

The Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department is celebrating a major milestone, beginning on Fountain Day, April 12, 2017.

The kick-off event for the 125th is scheduled from 5-7 p.m. at The Concourse Fountain, Benton Boulevard and St. John Ave.

The celebration not only marks the milestone but also the day when all fountains in the city are turned on for the spring and summer. The celebration will include members of the Parks Board, as well as food trucks, lawn games, and music with Grand Marquis.

Kansas City’s parks have a long and illustrious history. A few interesting facts and dates: *The park systems was in the fledging state when two civic heavy hitters, William Rockhill Nelson (founder of The Kansas City Star) and August Meyer (a construction baron), jumped on board the cause and hired George Kessler to design a park and boulevard system to create “a city within a park.” *In 1893 work began on Independence and Gladstone boulevards. *In 1895 the Park Board was given the power to condemn land, issue bonds and to receive special taxes. *North Terrace Park (now Kessler Park), West Terrace Park and Penn Valley Park were the first developed. *In 1896 Col. Thomas H. Swope deeded 1,300 acres of land to the city. It became Swope Park, now home to Starlight Theatre and the Kansas City Zoo. *In 1927 Loose Park land was donated to the city by Ella Loose in memory of her husband, Jacob. In 1967 the Park Department and Recreational Division was split from the city’s Welfare Department and made into its own city department.

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