The Rainbow Fountain is patterned after the Tanner Fountain at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, near Boston. The Tanner Fountain was created by notes designer Peter Walker and received the 2008 Landmark Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Neligh's fountain was named the "Rainbow Fountain" because, on a sunny day, rainbows can be seen in the mist.
Construction of the fountain was authorized by the Neligh City Council and the Neligh Park Board and attests to their belief that municipal leadership involves more than providing water, sewer, and street services, to its residents. This fountain and the adjacent parks are evidence of their continuing efforts to provide beautiful sites for recreation and leisure. The Rainbow Fountain was constructed in 2009.
The funds for the rocks, electrical, and mechanical apparatus, concrete and rubber mulch used for the fountain were supplied by the Richard Kalvelage Gift Trust. The planning for the fountain was done by Lyle Juracek, city superintendent, without professional assistance. Mr. Juracek and city employees did the actual work in the creation of the fountain.
Shamrock Nursery designed the original landscaping. It was made possible by a grant from the Nebraska State Arboretum Society and gifts from Shamrock Nursery and the Kalvelage Gift Trust.
In 2021, the Rainbow Fountain landscaping was redesigned by landscape designer Amanda Elder. The Neligh-Oakdale FBLA along with the Economic Development Office replanted the fountain. City employees also helped with replanting and new mulch as well as repairs to the fountain. The Kalvelage Gift Trust provided additional funding for the updates and new irrigation system for the fountain.