“We highlight a lot of our great leaders in the community at McAdams Park, and this was an opportunity to highlight somebody who made a global impact,” said District I councilman Brandon Johnson.
Charles McAfee is an award-winning architect who designed multiple structures around Wichita and founded McAfee Architects in 1963.
“When I was a little boy, that was the only park that Black people can only go to. It was the only little pool that we could go and swim,” said Charles McAfee.
He says after he graduated from college he was given the opportunity to redesign the pool he spent some of his summers visiting.
“I did McAdams Pool, and we won a design award for that,” said McAfee.
The design of the pool received an award from the American Institute of Architects in 1970.
“Mr. McAfee’s pool was the best design in all of Wichita, Kansas,” said Mary Dean.
Johnson says they had to go through multiple steps to go about and renaming it the Charles McAfee Pool.
“So, first was the push to save the pool, ” said Johnson.
“It’s history. It’s part of Wichita’s history. And so we didn’t want other people to chip away at it because that’s what they wanted to do,” said Dean.
Johnson says after the city council approved the aquatic plan, he wanted to surprise Mr. McAfee with the new name.
“We just felt it was right to give him due credit and give him his flowers while he’s still here,” said Johnson.
“They gave me a very nice medal, and Brandon johnson and mayor came and handed it to me. And I told Brandon, I said, ‘Wait till I get you in that alley,’ everybody knew about it. Nobody hinted about it. I mean, nobody. I did not have a clue,” said McAfee.
McAdams Pool is currently under renovation, and it’s expected to reopen in summer 2021.