Apr 03

121. Shot Tower Playground

shottowerIn 1808, Thomas Sparks, a plumber, built this tower to make musket balls and shot.  Before this tower, munitions makers would use molds to form the spherical balls.  But, apparently, if you drop molten lead 140 feet (or so), it will take on a spherical shape.  Anything less than that would yield a tear-drop shape.  For generations, the Sparks made ammunition in the tower.  Today, it looms over a playground, baseball field, and newly-opened spray ground.  And while the story of the shot tower is pretty unusual, the playground equipment is pretty standard.

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Philly Playground Project (reviewed: 9/5/09)

Shot Tower Playground Facebook Page


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Visited: March 2014

Apr 03

120. Weccacoe Playground

weccacoeThe Weccacoe Playground was hopping on the first Saturday of Spring that we visited.  The equipment was fun, but the big draw was an epic hide and go seek game that we played over the entire lot.  There were some neat hiding spaces behind the playground building, behind trees, under a discarded ping-pong table, and near the wisteria (?) covered fence surround the tennis courts.  All in all, Weccacoe is a fine neighborhood playground.  But it looks like it might be even better if the plans put forward by the Friends of Weccacoe Playground (see link below) are carried out.  One complication?  Much of the southwest corner of the playground lies above the 18th & 19th century cemetery of Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church.weccacoe3 weccacoe2

Philly Playground Project (reviewed 8/1/09)

Friends of Weccacoe Playground (a project of the Queen Village Neighbors Association)


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Visited: March 2014

Apr 03

119. Hawthorne Cultural Center playground

hawthorneZora brought one of her best friends with her on our trip to the Hawthorne Cultural Center playground, and I thought we would never leave.  ”See you at the bottom!” they shouted to each other as they slid down the swirly slide.  ”See you at the top!” they shouted as they raced to the top of the slide again.  And over and over.  The playground sits in the shadow of an enormous communications tower which gives the place an eerie edge, but it’s also graced with a beautiful mosaic and artwork on the wall of the building.  Sadly, it’s also graced by a lot of graffiti tags, too.hawthorne0 hawthorne1 hawthorne2

Philly Playground Project (reviewed: 8/8/2009)


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Visited: March 2014

Apr 03

118. McCall Elementary School Playground

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If you’re not a McCall Elementary School family, you  might not even know this playground exists.  To get there, you have to come in on Panama Street, a small half-block cobble-stone street between Pine and Spruce.  It’s a new-ish looking playground with no graffiti.  No swings, but they do have one of those new-fangled see-saws.  On the Saturday afternoon we were there, some kids were practicing tricks on their BMX bikes in the sea of asphalt between the playground and building.  And ordinarily, I’d be wistful at the asphalt expanse, but the luscious and green Washington Square park is just a block or two north for all your grassy needs.mccall-3 mccall-4

mccall1 mccall2Philly Playground Project (reviewed: 9/9/2009)


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Visited: March 2014

Mar 21

117. Miles Mack / McAlpin Playground

miles mackI really like Miles Mack Playground for lots of reasons.  I see it from the train when I’m coming home from Harrisburg, and it’s a sign that I’m almost home.  There’s a bunch of new equipment, plus several pieces of retro steel equipment, including an amazing old spaceship monkey bars.  Zora’s feeling a lot braver these days that she has in the past.  She didn’t used to go on the tall monkey bars, but when I saw her scamper up those monkey bars recently, it made me feel, well, like I was getting older.  I felt older thinking about the recent history of this playground.  Zora wasn’t born yet when, in September 2008, Miles Mack, a dedicated mentor, peacemaker, and coach, was gunned down after a basketball tournament that he had organized.

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Philadelphia Playground Project (reviewed 6/11/2011)


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Visited: March 2014