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National and State Registers of Historic Places

North Riverside Park Comfort Station

Picture of property 900 N. Bitting Avenue
Wichita (Sedgwick County)
Listed in National Register Apr 16, 2008

Architect: L. W. Clapp/CWA
Category: outdoor recreation
Thematic Nomination: New Deal-era Resources of Kansas

Acquired in 1897, the 30-acre North Riverside Park had experienced some development prior to the onset of the Great Depression, with the most notable feature being the Park Villa shelter house. The Park Villa shelter encouraged families to visit, but there were no restroom facilities for use within the park. Lewis William Clapp, President of the Board of Park Commission, designed the comfort station, which was constructed as a Civil Works Administration project in 1934. It represented the first new construction in a city park to be federally funded by New Deal workers. The comfort station is an excellent example of the Art Deco style as applied to a utilitarian park building. It is significant for its high artistic values evidenced on a small scale, and as a type of construction - Carthalite - that originated in Wichita. Carthalite was a local trade name for a mixture of concrete mortar mixed with crushed glass and pigmentation. The building was nominated for its architecture and for its association with New Deal-era government projects.

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