During a surprise announcement, the Wichita City Council honored and recognized Wichita native and nationally recognized architect Charles McAfee by naming the soon-to-be-completed new pool in McAdams Park as the Charles McAfee Pool.
McAfee, 88, who grew up in the neighborhood near McAdams Park, played and swam there when it was the only park African Americans could use in the city. After completing his degree in architecture at the University of Nebraska, he returned to Wichita and established his own architecture firm. Redesigning the McAdams Pool in 1969 was one of his early architectural successes. The following year, the pool won a design award from the American Institute of Architects.
McAfee has gone on to win countless awards for his architectural design and service to others. High among his professional recognitions has to be his designation as a Fellow of the American Institute Of Architects, an honor bestowed on a select few members of the organization who have made “significant contributions to the profession and society and who exemplify architectural excellence.”
“According to at least three sources, Mr. McAfee is the most important African-American architect in the United States,” said Wichita Councilmember Brandon Johnson, who proposed the pool naming. “The Wichita community is better because of you, because of the things you’ve done.”
During the approximately 30-minute presentation, friends, members of the community and his family members paid tribute to McAfee. McAfee later paid tribute to those who inspired him, his parents, brother, and sister, and other members of the Wichita community who went on to accomplish great things despite the limitation placed on them by segregation.
“It’s never been about me,” said McAfee. “It’s been about the people who have inspired me.”
The new Charles McAfee Pool will offer a state-of-the-art pool experience, with a water slide and toddler slide, multiple shaded lounge areas with trees, a sunshade feature in the shallow end of the pool, splash pads, zero-depth entry, and additional interactive water features.