Since 1826, the Esplanade has been the traditional center of Springfield and Clark County. The National Road passed within one block of Market Square as it was then called. Three city halls, several hotels, train stations, and numerous commercial interests were located here. It was the site of the Champion Reaper Plant, the company that made Springfield the Champion City, and Kelly's Springfield Arcade. The Esplanade has hosted scores of parades, community celebrations, markets, conventions, and street fairs.
In 1889, Mayor Oliver S. Kelly donated funds for construction of a forty-one foot high, cast-iron fountain on the Esplanade, dedicated to the people of Springfield. The site was then renamed Fountain Square and Market Street became Fountain Avenue.
This fountain is now the centerpiece of the Square.