City Parks Park Benches
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Park Benches

​Artist Heather Byers introduced the idea of creating park benches commemorating famous Wichitans that made major contributions to our city and society. Wichita Park & Rec and Wichita Parks Foundation split the cost of 12 benches that were installed in parks between 2022-23. Unfortunately, after installation of the Black Bear Bosin bench in South Riverside Park it was vandalized leaving only 11 artist created benches in the park system for the community to enjoy. 

Photos taken by One Delightful Life


Bob Gress Bench

North Chisholm Park | west of parking lot off the far north trail

Bob Gress is a former director of the Great Plains Nature Center in Wichita, KS. He is a biologist, naturalist, photographer, and birder. His photos of wildlife have appeared in over 60 books.


Carrie Nation Bench

Emporia Park | 1143 N. Emporia Ave.

Carrie Nation was a supporter of women’s suffrage and wrights. She organized a local branch of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union and campaigned for enforcement of the state’s liquor laws.


Chisholm Trail Bench

Aley Park | 1803 S. Seneca St.

The Chisholm Trail was used to drive cattle from Texas to states north safely where there was a vast demand after the Civil War. From 1867 to 1871, the Chisholm Trail ended in Abilene, KS, but as railroads incrementally built southward, the end of the trail moved to Newton and soon afterward to Wichita.

Dan & Frank Carney Bench

Fairmount Park | 1647 N. Yale Blvd.

Dan and Frank Carney established the first pizzeria in 1958 known today as Pizza Hut. By 1977, Pizza Hut was a franchise business with over 4,000 stores. The brothers sold the business to PepsiCo for $300 million.


Dave Stallworth Bench

Buffalo Park | 10201 W. Hardtner Ave.

Dave Stallworth was the third overall pick by the New York Knicks in the 1965 NBA draft. He played for Wichita State University setting 18 school records, including the highest career point per game average (24.2). He helped the Shockers reach the 1964 NCAA Men’s Tournament, the school’s first appearance, and was named to the All-American team twice.


Dr. Donna Sweet Bench

Harrison Park | 1300 S. Webb Rd.

Dr. Sweet is a delegate to the American Medical Association, a member of the leadership for the American College of Physicians, and past president of the ACP Board of Regents. Dr. Sweet is a certified HIV specialist by the American Academy of HIV Medicine of which she was a past board member. She has spent 35+ years of service to patients with HIV/AIDS.


Fred & Thomas McConnell Bench

East Cessna Park | 6115 E. Mount Vernon Rd.

Fred and Thomas joined the US Army Air Corps in March 1942, then called to service on April 23, 1942. The brothers all flew as co-pilots for the B-24 Liberator in the Pacific Theater.

On Thomas’ third mission he and his crew completed a successful bombing run over Japan’s Kahili airdrome at Bougainville July 10, 1943. While returning to base, a fog covered the mountains where he was flying and his plane crashed killing everyone on board. Thomas was 20 years old.

Fred flew 61 successful missions in the Pacific, returning stateside on March 7, 1944, landing the famous B-17 Flying Fortress, well known as “Calamity Jane,” at Wichita Municipal Airport.


Jim Lehrer Bench

Osage Park | 2121 W. 31st St. S.

Jim Lehrer an American journalist and author, best known as an anchor of NewsHour, a nightly television news program airing on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). In 1973, Jim paired up with Robert MacNeil to cover the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaigns, formed to investigate Watergate.


Joyland, Chance, Ottaway Bench

Planeview Park | 2819 Fees St.

Joyland Amusement Park, founded by Lester Ottaway and his sons on June 12, 1949 gave home to a 12-inch gauge steam locomotive. Originally located at 1515 E. Central but moved to its final location at 2801 S. Hillside. The original miniature train retired with the Ottaway’s and was replaced with the first-ever C.P. Huntington miniature train built by Chance Rides. It carries serial number 1 from the factory.


Robert Gates Bench

Westlink Park | 736 N. Caddy Ln.

Robert Gates a graduate of East High School, served in the Air Force as an intelligence officer and in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). In 1991, he was appointed Director of the CIA. After retiring from the CIA, he engaged in academic pursuits becoming president of Texas A&M University in 1999. Gates was appointed Secretary of Defense in 2006 by President Bush.


Walter Beech, Clyde Cessna, Bill Lear, Lloyd Stearman Bench

Boston Park | 6655 E. Zimmerly St.

Wichita the “Air Capital of the World” got its name thanks to Walter Beech, Clyde Cessna, Bill Lear, and Lloyd Stearman, all who built the companies that laid the groundwork for Wichita’s prominent aviation industry.

Clyde Cessna’s first plane completed in Wichita was Cessna’s “The Comet” in 1917. Walter Beech formed Beech Aircraft Company in 1932, the Model 17R Staggerwing, took flight in November 1932. The worlds most efficient airplane at the time, the Cessna Airmaster, began production in 1935.

WWII causes a boom in the aviation industry, forcing Beech and Cessna to build B-29 bombers together for the military.

In 1925, Lloyd Stearman and Walter Beech form Travel Air along with Clyde Cessna after leaving Swallow Airplane Company. In 1927, Beech and Stearman part ways after a disagreement over what type of wings to produce.

Bill Lear moved from Switzerland to Wichita to design the first Learjet, a business jet that took flight in October 1963.