The Shelter Fountain was approaching its 50th anniversary when the announcement was released in fall 2014 — the fountain would close for renovations.

The fountain’s age had started to show. Leaky plumbing and faulty wiring stirred concern about its ability to survive another 50 years.

The fountain stood at 1817 W. Broadway since Shelter’s earliest days, before the company even became Shelter Insurance. The company was founded in 1946 as the MFA Mutual Insurance Company. In 1957, MFA completed construction on its corporate offices in Columbia.

The next decade was one of rapid growth for MFA, as the company added life insurance and regional claims to their services while managing to expand their operating territory to nine more states. In 1965, the fountain was built, functioning as a symbol of the company’s prosperity and a foreshadowing of their success in Columbia.

The fountain kept pumping when the company cut ties with MFA and adopted its current name in 1981.

From the fountain’s completion in 1966 to its closing in the fall of 2014, it has hosted proposals, prom photos, 49 spring opening celebrations and countless other events and moments in the lives of Columbia residents.

On April 30, the newly renovated fountain reopened to mark the beginning of spring for the 50th time.

Now, the total water surface area is 2,100 square feet, with 1,800 gallons per minute of water in motion, 49 nozzles and approximately 38 feet of waterfalls. The center basin’s nozzle sprays 20 feet high. These features, and the fountain’s new LED multi-color lights, will allow the fountain to function like never before, according to Jay MacLellan, media relations director at Shelter. Expanded light and water shows are now a possibility at the site.

The Shelter Fountain will host as many exciting events in its future as in its past. It will continue to mark the arrival of spring in Columbia and will continue to be a symbol of the Columbia community. Updates and repairs have ensured this landmark will see many more anniversaries.

Recent News

Women Entrepreneurs: Creating the Brand

This post is the third in a four-part series about creating a new entrepreneurship program, the Missouri Women’s Business Center, while simultaneously helping entrepreneurs...

Finding Your Civic Voice on Predatory Lending

  Missouri has some of the laxest state regulations in the country on short-term loan companies offering quick-cash, payday, installment, or title loans —...

Vacant Lot? More Like a Park in Waiting.

  One thing we heard loud and clear at our planning open house for The Loop was the desire for more public space. I...

Press Release: The Business Times Company Leadership Changes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   COLUMBIA — The Business Times Company is proud to welcome Breck Dumas as the new editor of its flagship publication,...

A Day in the Life of Mid-Missouri Farmer Doug Nichols

This story originally appeared in print as part of “The Journey from Farm to Table”   Doug Nichols is the owner of Cloverleaf Farms....