Hull House Playground Opens in Jolly Romp, 1895


The assertion by Adrian Benepe, NYC parks commissioner and narrator of the NYT slideshow referenced below, that New York City is the ‘birthplace of the playground’–based upon the opening of Seward Park in 1903–is plainly incorrect.
I’m not an expert in playground history, but I do know that Jane Addams established the Hull House playground in Chicago in 1895, opening it to a ‘wild scene of delight’ in which boys tunneled under the fences to get to be the first on the swings, as the original piece from this newspaper attests. [easier to read at its transcription here]
This slide show depicts the “evolution of recreational space in and around Hull-House, from alleys and courtyards to playgrounds that were eventually taken over by the municipality” in 1906, and is the source of the 1901 photo above. Hull House beats not-the-center-of-the-universe-NYC by a healthy eight years.

2 Responses to “Hull House Playground Opens in Jolly Romp, 1895”

  1. World's First Playground Swing, says the Daily Mail? Not. (Again!) | Playscapes said:

    […] London’s East End had swings by at least 1875.  Longtime readers of this blog might remember Chicago’s Hull House, which opened in 1895 in a clamor of delight with boys tunneling under th….  New York’s Carnegie Playground was photographed in 1911.  With swings.  Boston’s […]

    September 26, 2013 at 1:10 pm

  2. perryne and said:

    Reading “Grounds for Play” by Justin Krebs, I came across the following information. One of the first parks in NYC was Mulberry Bend (1897)-although two years after Chicago's. More information here:

    September 24, 2009 at 2:29 am

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