“Life is short, art long, opportunity fleeting, experience treacherous, judgment difficult.” This phrase comes from the first two lines of Aphorismi , which was written by the Ancient Greek physician, Hippocrates. What he meant by these lines is: “It takes a long time to acquire and perfect one’s expertise (in, say, medicine) and one has but a short time in which to do it.”
Much celebrated and most distinguished physician, scholar, and writer, Dr. Logan Clendening, was recently once again honored posthumously with a fountain on the campus of the KU Medical Center in Kansas City.
Two years after Logan Clendening’s untimely death in 1945, 600 people gathered for the dedication of a fountain which was placed in the KU Medical Center courtyard as a memorial to the prominent KU physician and benefactor of the world renowned Clendening History of Medicine Library. The interior wall of the fountain was inscribed: “Life is Short – and the Art is Long to the memory of Logan Clendening, 1884-1945, from his friends.”
Sixty-seven years later, in 2014, the irreparable Clendening Fountain was dismantled and carefully placed in storage.
In 2016, Kansas City Masonry/ The Masons Co created, built and erected a custom fountain in front of the entrance to Murphy Hall, KU Medical’s oldest building, where the first fountain stood. The words, ‘Life is Short and the Art is Long’ is engraved into real limestone caps on the fountain. Distinctive Caduceus symbols are on each of the two columns with Scottish thistle at the top of each serpent. Custom tile adorns the fountain’s facade.
The project was a labor of pride and respect for the team. With a fierce dedication to the art of masonry and a passion for the craft’s beauty, the company took it as a tremendous privilege to have a hand in honoring Dr. Clendening as one of the ‘greats’ in Kansas City history.
Upon his death, many were saddened by the loss. “It is hard for those who knew him to realize that the blithe spirit that was Logan Clendening is gone,” the Star pondered. “No one could have enjoyed life more than he. Few have contributed more to make life sparkle for others in conversation and writing.” “It seems difficult to think of Logan as gone,” Landon Laird wrote in the Kansas City Times. “The happier imagination is that he is just around the corner, waiting to greet one with his hearty laugh and his offer of ‘Let me show you the sights around here.’” And Vincent Starrett, years later, pronounced the final word on the subject: “Logan Clendening was one of the finest human beings I ever knew.”
Kansas City Masonry/ The Masons Co is immensely proud to add the Logan Clendening Memorial Fountain to its impressive portfolio of projects. The company revels in not only being able to contribute to the historical restoration of some of region’s finest properties, but also in creating lasting tributes and timeless structures to carry Kansas City and and the city’s surrounding areas boldly and eloquently into the future.
The possibility of a future discovery in a time capsule greatly exists. Maybe the Baker Street Irregulars or Logan Clendening’s love for Sherlock Holmes will some day Reveal It…