Work began Monday to remove parts of the Fountain of the Pioneers in downtown Kalmaazoo's Bronson Park. WWMT reports that city crews began by dismantling one of the concrete ponds by carefully removing bronze sculptures of children which were near the band shell performance area.
The fountain became the center of controversy in Kalamazoo in recent months due to its main focal point of a pioneer standing over a Native American. City commissioners voted on March 6th
to remove it mostly due to the heated debate, but also because of costs for maintenance and upkeep. Work to remove the actual Fountain of the Pioneers on the other end of the park will likely begin next week.
Some of the fountain and structure in Bronson Park dates back to 1879 according to records from the Kalamazoo Public Library. In 1936, the Kalamazoo Business and Professional Women’s Club created a design competition to replace McColl Fountain which had become unpopular. Twenty-two contestants from nine states submitted designs. A jury of Kalamazoo area art and education officials convened and artist and instructor Marcelline Gougler from Chicago took the $250 top prize for her designs.