Ben F. McLean Fountain -- Delano Park, Wichita KS
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Benchmark Blasterz
N 37° 41.161 W 097° 20.699
14S E 645928 N 4172267
Quick Description: Ben F. McLean was a former bank president and former mayor (twice) of Wichita KS. In 1934 the city of Wichita erected a fountain in his honor. In 2013 the fountain was home to a homeless person because the water had been turned off during the winter
Location: Kansas, United States
Date Posted: 5/7/2013 11:00:21 AM
Waymark Code: WMH1NV
Views: 5

Long Description:
The beautiful McLean fountain flows freely from May through October. It is turned off and drained for the winter months to protect the 80 year old pipes and keep them from freezing in the cold KS winters.

For such a grand fountain, biographical information on Benjamin F. McLain is a little thin.

From Find-A-Grave, some brief biographical information on and a photo of Mayor McLean: (visit link)

"Benjamin F. McLean
Birth: 1859
Death: Oct. 13, 1930

Wichita Mayor. McLean served as the Mayor of Wichita, Kansas, from 1901 to 1904, and again from 1923 until he resigned in 1924.

Burial: Maple Grove Cemetery" [end]

More details abut mayor McLean can be found in a detailed biography of his daughter-in-law, Elizabeth A. McLean, which we have excerpted: (visit link)

"Elizabeth A. McLean is honored with a Brick from McLean Science/Technology Magnet.

. . . The youngest of 5 surviving children, Elizabeth was born in the Canadian wilderness where her father, a rugged adventurer, had been attracted by the fur-trade industry of the late 1800s. A 6th child, born 2 years after Elizabeth, was not as fortunate as the other children, and, after a few brave months of life, did not survive the extreme elements of this wild and northern frontier. Elizabeth’s parents returned with their remaining children to the U.S. shortly thereafter, settling in Hutchinson, Kansas.

. . . When Elizabeth was about ten years of age, her parents divorced. Her mother . . . died at the age of 41. Meanwhile, Elizabeth’s natural father had continued to journey farther and farther westward, and it was not long before his children lost . . . all contact with him. Elizabeth’s three older brothers had all joined the military, and her older sister was married and living elsewhere with a family of her own. With the death of her mother in 1911, Elizabeth found herself alone in the world. At the age of 13, . . . she dropped out of . . . school, took a full-time job and began supporting herself independently.

After a few years, Elizabeth moved from Hutchinson to Wichita. . . With the approach of the winter season, she visited the Fourth National Bank to request a loan with which to buy a winter coat; her loan was approved by none other than the President of the bank himself, Benjamin Franklin McLean, who would later become Elizabeth’s father-in-law. Today Ben McLean is best remembered not merely for his leadership at the Fourth National Bank, but also for the 3 terms in which he served as Mayor of Wichita during some of the most formative years of the city’s early history. McLean Boulevard is named for him, as is the Ben F. McLean Science/Technology Magnet Elementary School in west Wichita, as well as a bridge downtown.

Additionally, in the 1930s the city of Wichita erected the memorial fountain which still stands today at the corner of Douglas Avenue and McLean Boulevard in downtown Wichita, on which is engraved the inscription: “In memory of Ben F. McLean, 1858 – 1930, whose life and labors contributed greatly to developing Wichita.”

It was Ben F. McLean who brought Elizabeth to the attention of his son, Benjamin Drew McLean, who was at that time employed as an officer at the Fourth National Bank. A graduate of Harvard’s class of 1913, Drew had returned to Wichita after leading a regimen in France during World War I, and he and Elizabeth were married in 1919. . . .

In 1929 Ben McLean senior was planning to retire from his Presidency of the bank, so Elizabeth and Drew returned to Wichita, and Drew became the bank’s Vice President. Before he could retire, however, in 1930 Ben McLean died unexpectedly. Drew was then elected to succeed his father as President of the Fourth National Bank.

. . .

In November of 1997, Elizabeth Anna McLean was recognized on her 100th birthday by family, friends and members of the community at the Wichita Art Museum, at which Wichita’s then Mayor, Bob Knight, presented her with a Medal of the City and referred to her as “the last of the early Wichita matriarchs”. . . .

While still living in her own home, which she had designed and built nearly half a century earlier, Elizabeth A. McLean passed away peacefully and without illness in May of the year 2000, at the age of 102." [end]
Web Link: [Web Link]

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Recent Visits/Logs:
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kiecker visited Ben F. McLean Fountain -- Delano Park, Wichita KS 5/19/2015 kiecker visited it
W1zz visited Ben F. McLean Fountain -- Delano Park, Wichita KS 6/28/2013 W1zz visited it
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