Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Two Thoughts on Kansas City

Two Thoughts for Tuesday

Yesterday, hubby and I needed to go to one of the local shopping centers to pick up a few things.  Those of you that are regular readers know that I am not a big fan of shopping.  However, if I can use it as an excuse to walk around, people watch and have a meal thrown in for good measure, then it's not so bad.

I especially like sitting on the benches by the fountains and watching all the families toss their coins in for wishes. 

Thought #1 - Kansas City's Official Nickname is the City of Fountains
Kansas City has a lot of interesting neighborhoods, shopping districts, and tourist attractions. However, our city is known as the "City of Fountains".  There are more fountains in Kansas City  than any other city in the world with one exception: Rome.   Really, if KC has to come in #2 for fountains, I guess it isn't so bad coming in behind Rome. 

A little background about the fountain...

In Kansas City, which is known as “The City of Fountains” there is one outdoor fountain that is the most famous and most frequently photographed.  The J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain was dedicated in 1960 however the history of the fountain began decades earlier.
Jesse Clyde Nichols, known usually as J.C. Nichols, was an important developer in Kansas City who lived from 1880 to 1950.  His developments figured prominently into the expansion and appearance of Kansas City.  He was responsible for the Country Club Plaza that is known as the first suburban shopping area in the United States.  In 1922, when his plans for the Plaza were revealed, a shopping district specifically designed for people arriving in cars had not been heard of.  Nichols is considered a pioneer in that type of development, and Country Club Plaza has remained a successful shopping district since the time of its creation.

The fountain was originally created in Paris by sculptor Henri Greber in 1910.  Although actual meaning of the statuary is uncertain, the four large, cast bronze equestrian figures reportedly represent four mighty rivers of the world: the Rhine, the Seine, the Volga and the Mississippi.

same fountain different view

Thought #2 Kansas City has one of the coolest libraries in the world.  (at least in my opinion)

This is the downtown branch of the Kansas City Library

same library, different view

One of the most unusual  examples of unique architecture in Kansas City, has to be the facade of the parking garage for the Central Branch of the public library. The garage wall was designed to look like a row of giant books lined up on a shelf. The book spines, which measure approximately 25 feet by 9 feet, are made of signboard mylar. The shelf showcases 22 titles reflecting a wide variety of reading interests as suggested by Kansas City readers and then selected by The Kansas City Public Library Board of Trustees.

The garage behind the "books" was constructed in 2006 in response to the need for additional downtown parking. Community input was requested on ways to beautify the new structure and ultimately the idea of a bookshelf evolved.

Community members and patrons were asked to vote on the titles to be displayed and the ones chosen reflect a wide range of famous literature. Titles of the 22 volumes represented include "The Lord of the Rings" by J. R. R. Tolkien and "Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury among many others.

The Good for the Day...fun things to look at in the city you live in or by.

The Bad for the Day....Not taking advantage of the things your city offers

The Weird for the Day....Having huge books line a downtown street.

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meleahrebeccah said...

Shut up!! That IS the COOLEST library - EVER!!

bodaciousboomer said...

Really, really like the giant ass book mural.

AngelBaby said...

Wow this fountain is beautiful! I love fountains, I am just memorized watching them, they are so peaceful. What is it about water that does that to me, I just love watching water. Of course getting in water is even better. LOL!

The story of KC is very interesting, especially the fountains. The person that designed the layout of KC was probably like me and loved water hence all the fountains. My kind of city!

Here's your click .............

Love and Blessings,

Cheryl P. said...

It truly is spectacular. Those really look like actual books. I love how clever the architecs were.

Cheryl P. said...

I do love that library. It is like being a lilliputian next to big leather bound books.

Cheryl P. said...

You and me both. Not only do I love the formations of the water but extra, extra love them at night with the colored lights on the water sprays. There are so many beautiful fountains here.

bodaciousboomer said...

I must come. I love feeling diminutive and it happens so infrequently.

meleahrebeccah said...


Nicky said...

I LOVE the "bookshelf" garage!!! That is outstanding, and I don't know how I never knew it existed. Seriously, thank you for sharing!

There is something very romantic and magical about fountains, even though I don't think I've ever had one of my wishes come true :-)

Rob in Lausanne said...

hey Cheryl thanks for this blog. Great photos and I do love books so the library is an awesome sculpture with a message for me. Heard about Kansas temperatures on the radio coming home last night. Keep cool. The fountains must help. Don't throw coins in them, throw yourself in. Cheers from Australia Rob

Cheryl P. said...

I agree about the romantic and magical "something" about fountains. I, too, don't recall any of my wishes coming true as a direct result of throwing a coin in. Although, who knows. A lot of my wishes have come true.

Cheryl P. said...

The temperatures are extremely high for Kansas so we aren't used to these heat indexes of 112 and such. I think the getting in the fountains is a great idea. Hope all is going well in Australia. Take care of yourself. I hope to get caught up with my blog reading in the near future. Traveling has gotten in my way of keeping current.

oldereyes said...

Horses representing rivers seems a little odd but I love the large books (and happy to see Catch 22 made the shelf). One of the coolest libraries I've seen is at Yale University. The walls are made of marble panels thin enough that in the daytime, the light shining through lights the spaces.

My only time in KC was when my flight from DC to LAX had engine trouble and we spent the night sitting on the runway waiting for repairs. Unsettling to see the engine taken apart then put back together on your plane.


Wolfbernz said...

Hi Cheryl,

Very cool photos! Kansas City looks like a nice place to visit, it would be cool to see the book facade. I never knew that Kansas City was known for its fountains (or that it had so many fountains) It sounds like an interesting city.

Clicks for you!

Trina said...

How awesome is that! I would love to see the wall of books in person! Looks like we may be going to KC on a future trip. Honestly, if it wasn't for your post an pictures I wouldn't have known it to be a place I would want to visit.

Wolf and I talk ab out how we don't take time to enjoy where we live. So many people come here for vacations and we run away to vacation LOL


jacqui said...

That really is the coolest library! I've never seen anything like that before. First I hear about the new stadium and an amusement park and now there's this. Who knew Kansas City had such great stuff?

Kimberly Wyatt said...

That library is great! What a fantastic idea. And I love fountains, so I'd be totally in awe of Kansas City.

Sandra said...

Definitely the coolest library! Kansas is quite charming. This is why I love blogging. I never would have even given the word "Kansas" a second thought, and now I'm here thinking, "Maybe next year we can vacation there."

Cheryl P. said...

Yale Library does sound neat.

Not much of a view of the city from a tarmac. There are a lot of neat things to see here. It's nearly worth the trip for the great BBQ joints.

Cheryl P. said...

The fountains are every where. All the subdivisions have fountains at the entrances, all the companies put them in their landscape designs. They are even in the medians of the roads here.

Cheryl P. said...

Isn't that true of most people. Wayne and I have lived in great cities and missed a lot of the local attractions. We have lived here 5 years and still haven't been to some of the museums. We keep saying this is the year!!

Cheryl P. said...

There is so much fun stuff here. I don't think KC does a good job marketing their tourism. It is a shame. Awesome shopping districts, restaurants, lot's of historical attractions. AND I agree that is one cool library.

Cheryl P. said...

It is a fun town to visit if you ever get the chance. Our nephew brought his little ones that are young like your little ones, a few months ago and they stayed at Great Wolf Lodge (hotel that is also a waterpark)

There are a lot of family oriented things here.

Cheryl P. said...

Kansas City is usually not a place people think of. I think KC needs to do a better job of marketing their city. There really are a lot of fun things here to do.

Jewell said...

Hey LOOK ! I'm here! And I'm commenting! *starts fanning you before you pass out* Please don't pass out...I'm not particularly well versed in the art out mouth to mouth! =) *snort*

I have seen the fountain with the horses in many pictures. It's quite the thing, and probably pretty incredible to see, but I have to say that that parking structure for the library is AWESOME!!! What a terrific idea! Ohhhh! Farenheit 451! One of my favorites!!!

Cheryl P. said...

OMG...is it (((Jewell))) Your back!!!! I am feeling a bit faint...no...wait...I am recovering...That was close. No CPR needed.

I agree. I love all the fountains in KC. There are some really awesome ones and the whole synchronized water thing...very cool BUT that library is one of a kind.