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article imagePhoto Essay: Kansas City is full of fountains and history Special

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By Kay Mathews     Dec 29, 2012 in Travel
Kansas City - There are many reasons to visit Kansas City including its beautiful fountains and fascinating history. Tourists will make unexpected discoveries and wonderful memories in this heartland city.
Kansas City, Missouri is a beautiful city located in America's heartland. One visit to the city and it will steal your heart away.
Kansas City's fabulous barbecue is well known, and rightfully so. But, between stops at BBQ joints, visitors will find attractions that are steeped in history, which will likely keep history buffs coming back for more.
One example is Union Station, which was built in 1914 and renovations were completed in 1999. According to Union Station, "The station also draws tourists from all over the world who marvel at the Grand Hall's 95-foot ceiling, three 3,500-pound chandeliers and the six-foot wide clock hanging in the Station's central arch."
Union Station's beautiful ceiling and one of the 3,500-pound chandeliers are featured below.
Ceiling at Union Station.  Kansas City  MO
Ceiling at Union Station. Kansas City, MO
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There are a number of restaurants inside Union Station. My favorite is Harvey's. The Harvey House Diner pays homage to Frederick H. Harvey who, in 1876, recognized the need for quality meals and lodging for railroad travelers. Harvey persuaded the manager of the new Atchinson, Topeka, & Santa Fe (AT&SF) Railroad that he could do just that. And, that same year, the first Harvey House restaurant opened in the Topeka Santa Fe Depot Station. Later, more Harvey House restaurants and hotels were built along the entire Santa Fe route.
Harvey s at Union Station.  Kansas City  MO
Harvey's at Union Station. Kansas City, MO
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Under some of the glass-covered tables at Harvey's can be seen memorabilia from the golden age of passenger railroad travel in America, including maps, postcards, time tables, ticket stubs and more. If Harvey's brings the 1946 movie "The Harvey Girls," starring Judy Garland, to mind, you are right on track. The Harvey House "Harvey Girls" were young women recruited to work as waitresses who wore the distinctive black and white uniforms, and were the inspiration for the 1946 movie.
Harvey s at Union Station.  Kansas City  MO
Harvey's at Union Station. Kansas City, MO
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Interestingly, just like in 1914, passengers can still catch a train at Union Station. The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, Amtrak, continues to offer rail passenger service and has a stop in Kansas City.
Since 1887, Kansas City has been a hub for railroads, like the Kansas City Southern Railroad, and railroad expansion. That tradition continues not only for Amtrak customers but also for commercial customers. The trains run smoothly through the heart of America.
Commercial trains run through Kansas City  Missouri.
Commercial trains run through Kansas City, Missouri.
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Commercial trains run through Kansas City  Missouri.
Commercial trains run through Kansas City, Missouri.
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In 2011, Kansas City found itself on the Forbes' list of "America's Best Downtowns." Forbes mentioned the great BBQ, but also called attention to Kansas City's "love of culture with a walkable and livable downtown, a wide variety of neighborhoods such as 'The Plaza,' which is known for its upscale shopping and entertainment. Plus, everywhere you look in Kansas City, there’s another fountain dancing in front of you..."
It's true. There are fountains all over Kansas City, which is why it is called the "City of Fountains." Two of the fountains are featured below. The first is The Neptune Fountain at Country Club Plaza. It features the Roman god of the sea in his chariot pulled by three attributes, the trident, dolphin and sea horse. The fountain originally came from the Bromsgrove Guild, Worcestershire, England in 1911.
Fountain at Country Club Plaza.  Kansas City  MO
Fountain at Country Club Plaza. Kansas City, MO
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Found in the J. C. Nichols Memorial Fountain at the entrance to the Country Club Plaza, the second is one of the four heroic horsemen said to represent the four rivers of the world The horseman represents the Mississippi River (the Indian riding the horse and beating off an alligator).
Fountain at Country Club Plaza.  Kansas City  MO
Fountain at Country Club Plaza. Kansas City, MO
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