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National Register of Historic Places Program

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.


Property Name Fountain of the Pioneers
Reference Number 16000417
State Michigan
County Kalamazoo
Town Kalamazoo
Street Address in Bronson Park, bounded by Academy, Rose, South and Park Streets
Multiple Property Submission Name Kalamazoo MRA
Status Listed 6/28/2016
Areas of Significance Art
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The Fountain of the Pioneers complex in Bronson Park is nationally significant under Criterion C as a rare, if not the only, complex work of skillful public outdoor design and sculpture whose components combine stylistic, theoretic and thematic elements of America's Prairie School, Modernist, Art Deco and Cultural Nationalism movements; for its association with Alfonso Iannelli, a master designer, artist and architect who was also a leader and teacher in America's professional Modern design and Modern design education movements; and as an outstanding example oflannelli's work over his half-century career. The Fountain of the Pioneers complex is also nationally significant under Criterion A as a rare, if not the only, example of American public sculpture whose primary figurative sculptural elements directly or indirectly reference the United States government's nineteenth-~entury Indian Removal activity, and the following commonly held European-American belief and federal policies supporting Indian assimilation. It is also significant for its contribution to the history of public art criticism through its sustained period of interpretive conversation and debate about its meaning by the artist, his colleagues, and the public, beginning before the work was completed and continuing to today. This criticism practice is common to public sculpture, but rare for the period during which the Kalamazoo Fountain of The Pioneers was created. As a skilled artist-designer and frequent critic, Iannelli used this opportunity to create a work in Kalamazoo which was not just a fountain, and not just a modern public art work whose meaning might be long-debated, but which could be understood as different from anything else created at the time.

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Kalamazoo MRA


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Properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places under four criteria: A, B, C, and D. For information on what these criterion are and how they are applied, please see our Bulletin on How to Apply the National Register Criteria