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A River in the City of Fountains – Linda Hall Library Program

Dive into the fascinating world of Kansas City’s fountains and uncover tales of the city’s social and environmental evolution with author Amahia Mallea at the Kansas City Public Library on June 26.

Author and environmental historian, Mallea will share insights from her book,  A River in the City of Fountains: An Environmental History of Kansas City and the Missouri River.

In it, Mallea argues that Kansas City boosters’ century-long obsession with managing the river for flood control and navigation benefited a minority but wrought negative social and ecological costs for the majority. The public health and urban innards of the Kansas Cities—drinking water and sewerage—have always been inextricably tied to the river but not until recently have urban and environmental questions begun to shape river management.

Like Rome, Kansas City is famous for its fountains. Over the last 125 years, KC’s fountains have been constructed for purposes as varying as horse troughs, clean drinking water, and art; their meaning has shifted from civilizing to civilized.

The fountains are clues to the city’s social, economic, and environmental history, and are a visual commemoration of the extensive but largely invisible infrastructure that connects all people to the river.

Linda Hall Library is hosting the free program titled, A River in the City of Fountains: The Urban Environmental History and Symbolism of Kansas City’s Fountains.

It will be presented in-person on Wednesday, June 26 from 12 to 1 pm at Kansas City Public Library-Central Library in the Helzberg Auditorium. Attendees are welcome to bring lunch to enjoy during the program.

Amahia Mallea, Associate Professor of History at Drake University, is an environmental historian interested in the relationship between American societies and their lands and resources. Subjects of interest include cities, rivers, and agriculture.

Note: The program will be presented in person at the Kansas City Public Library-Central Library and live streamed on the Central Library’s and the Linda Hall Library’s Facebook pages. Registration is not required to view the Facebook live stream.


June 26
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm


Linda Hall Library
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Kansas City Public Library – Central Branch
14 W 10th St
Kansas City,MOUnited States
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