Since 1826, the Esplanade has been the traditional center of Springfield and Clark County. The National Road passed within one block of "Market Square" as it was then called. Three city halls, several hotels, train stations, and numerous commercial interests were located here. It was the site of the Champion Reaper Plant, the company that made Springfield the "Champion City", and Kelly's Springfield Arcade. The Esplanade has hosted scores of parades, community celebrations, markets, conventions, and street fairs.
In 1889, Mayor Oliver S. Kelly donated funds for construction of a forty-one foot high, cast-iron fountain on the Esplanade, dedicated to the people of Springfield. The site was then renamed Fountain Square and Market Street became Fountain Avenue.
This fountain is now the centerpiece of the Square, standing as a monument to our rich heritage and a symbol of growth and prosperity for a third century.
The restoration of this historical landmark is another significant step forward in the revitalization and redevelopment of our downtown. This Esplanade represents the pride of our citizens and reaffirms our civic commitment to continuous improvement in the quality of life in our community.
We are grateful to the City of Springfield and to the hundreds of individuals, companies, and organizations whose generosity made this renovation of the Esplanade possible.
Fountain erected through generous gifts of the Community Improvement Corporation, Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce and the Community Beautification Committee Fountain Fund.
The Esplanade/Fountain Square Project
Dedicated October 24, 1993
Conceived by Mayor Robert C. Henry and assisted by the Community Beautification Committee, this most worthwhile undertaking began in 1967. In 1990, Springfield City Commissioner Frank R. Lightle reactivated the project.
These community leaders embraced the dream of returning a fountain to the Esplanade. Here we see the fulfillment of their vision...a centerpiece of beauty dedicated to our community.
Charles H. Rinehart, Chairman
Esplanade/Fountain Square Project Committee
Warren R. Copeland, Mayor
Dale A. Henry, Assistant Mayor
Faye M. Flack
Sheila D. Ballard
Matthew J. Kridler, City Manager