Location: Gillham Road at 39th Street
Designer: Stone Sculpture – Charles Fallen McKim, (1847-1909), New York Sculptor
Dedicated: October 6, 1968
Description: Height: 22 feet overall; Length: 39 feet overall; Width: 40 feet overall
A marble monument that enframes a wreath, bordered on each side by a woman and an eagle. Within the wreath is the Boy Scout Eagle badge. A fountain pool and two spiral concrete stairways complete the memorial.
Charles McKim designed this monumental 22-foot stone sculpture. When the sculpture was relocated to Kansas City, Maurice McMullen, a Kansas City architect, designed the setting for the sculpture and included a fountain to complete the memorial as it stands today. The fountain was made possible by a gift from the John W. Starr family.
Inscribed on the 12 inch by 24 inch aluminum plaque are the following words:
The Eagle Scout Tribute Fountain
Donated by Mr. and Mrs. John W. Starr
October 6, 1968
Through their vision, ingenuity, generosity and desire to recognize Eagle Scouts across the length and breadth of our nation, this tribute was constructed.
Below the sculpture is a second aluminum plaque, designed by Adolph Alexander Weinman, describing the Eagle Scout Badge.
The Eagle Scout Fountain supported by the Starr Fund has a fascinating history. The fountain was constructed around a large wreath bordered on both sides by a woman and an eagle. The women represent night and day.
The 22-foot high marble sculpture stood over the Seventh Avenue entrance to the old Pennsylvania Railroad Station in New York City – once billed as “the largest structure in the world devoted solely to the use and convenience of Railroad passenger” – from 1910 until the famous station closed in 1963.
Kansas City businessman and national Boy Scout executive John W. “Twink” Starr arranged through a friend at the Pennsylvania Railroad to have the sculpture brought to Kansas City when the old depot in New York was demolished.
A large clock that filled the sculpted wreath when it greeted travelers to the old Penn Station was replaced with an enlarged Boy Scout Eagle Badge. Eagle Badges were first awarded in 1912 to Scouts of the highest achievement. The badge features a silver eagle suspended from a red, white and blue scroll. A knot hangs from the scroll, signifying the Scout slogan: “Do a Good Turn Daily.”
Kansas City architect Maurice McMullen designed the setting for the historic sculpture, and included a fountain pool and two spiral stairways to complete the memorial. Starr, with his wife, Martha Jane Phillips Starr, and other supporters of the Boy Scouts provided the funds to construct the Eagle Scout Fountain. Hoffman Cortez Construction completed the work in 1968.
In 2013, an additional gift by the Martha Jane Phillips Starr Donor Advised Fund provided the funds to pay for a new pump and electrical transformer, upgraded lighting, cleaning and other site work at the landmark fountain.
Wondering where the other decorative remnants from the original Penn Station are located?
Find out at untappedcities.com.