M.C. Naftzger Park & Wichita Vortex Sutra

Historic Downtown Wichita

M.C. Naftzger Park & Wichita Vortex Sutra

Wichita, Kansas 67203, United States

Created By: Wichita History Walk



Maurice Clifford Naftzger was a prominent early citizen of Wichita, who arrived in 1887. His father Levi was president of the Fourth National Bank from 1893 to 1910, which was then sold to to Ben McLean, who turned this into the Southwest National Bank in 1915. Maurice worked in both banks and became president of Southwest National in 1934. His family donated money to the city as a memorial to Maurice in 1977-1978. The picture you’re viewing is the park in 1980, soon after its completion.Prior to the park’s construction, many establishments existed on this site. One of these was the Magic Theater/Vortex Art Gallery, which hosted the famous poet Allen Ginsberg. Ginsberg was traveling the Midwest on a grant, and was drawn here because several of his beatnik friends were from the area. Wanting to learn more, he visited Wichita during 1966 and wrote a poem during his travels called Wichita Vortex Sutra. This controversial anti-war poem was performed at WSU at the Student Union Ballroom. Recently, the 50th anniversary of that reading was celebrated locally in 2016 by the Yellowbrick Street Team. They used hydrophobic (water-repelling) clear spray paint to graffiti the poem on sidewalks nearby, so that pedestrians would only be able to read the lines of Ginsberg’s poem when it rained, as an ephemeral tribute to Ginsberg’s art and visit to Wichita. In March of 2020, after two years of renovation construction, Naftzger Park reopened with an open concept featuring an entertainment pavilion, LED marquee, and a dog park.





This point of interest is part of the tour: Historic Downtown Wichita


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