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Open Shutter to the Past: San Francisco in Pictures – Children's Playground (1954)

Kids in Golden Gate Park
Welcome back to Photo Friday – my little way of taking a break from San Francisco Real Estate and instead blogging about our great City’s past instead. All photos are published with permission from the San Francisco History Center and San Francisco Public Library.

There are days when I miss being a kid. Don’t get me wrong – I’m still a kid inside. When I go to the beach, I can’t help but pick up sea shells and rocks and take them home with me for the art project I’ll complete one day. And when I go past a playground, I can’t help but run out and roll up a swing (you know, to make it higher up off the ground) and get to swinging as high as I can possibly go before I just top out.
And when I saw the picture for today’s Photo Friday, I couldn’t help but get all tingly inside.
I LOVED that swing!!!!
The newscopy for this photo read <em >”LOTS OF FUN–There are 50 parks and squares in this city and 72 playgrounds, all of them ‘open for business’ during the summer months. One of the most popular playgrounds for youngsters is the Children’s Playground in Golden Gate Park.”
The amazing thing is that this photo was taken in 1954 and I was still swinging on those same swings from around 1980 through 1990 or so (and yes, I was probably “too old” to be swinging on those swings the last time I was there, but DAMN, they were FUN!!!!)
Unlike a lot of people that live here now, I actually grew up in this amazing City, and everywhere I look, I have memories of being a kid, a teenager, and occasionally, even an adult. But this playground in particular brings back SOOOO many memories – and these swings – they just make me want to kick off my shoes, fly across a set of monkey bars and jump on the swing with 2-3 good friends and pump the giant thing back and forth until someone gets sick, or at least swears that if we swing any harder, we’d flip over and fall off. Ahhhh – the memories!!!
Children’s Playground (AKA The Koret Children’s Quarter) was built in 1887 and is thought to be the oldest playground in the nation. And as of November 2007, everything, including the Carousel was in place and operational after the huge remodeling project.
As with many San Francisco landmarks, the name has been changed to accomodate the latest sponsor. That means that it’s now called the Koret Children’s Quarter. It’s had a hefty remodel, and really, there’s only a few staples of the past that are still there which include the carousel, the red barn and the concrete slides (WOOO! Give me a piece of cardboard and I’m good to GO!!!!)
The new play structures are safer. The don’t have sharp edges, and it seems that kids can’t hurt themselves the same way we used to with the old structures. (Although I know plenty of kids that got hurt on those play structure and came out just fine – in fact, I broke my wrist in 2nd grade at the playground on 32nd Avenue between Fulton and Cabrillo Streets in the Richmond Distruct and I seem to be ok, and even learned a little restraint from the experience.) But kids can and do still have fun there. In fact, they seem to have a hell of a lot of fun!!!
The biggest disappointment in my opinion – the big swing is gone. 🙁 I’m kind of crushed about that. But I’ll be OK, mostly, because there are moments when I can still manage to see life through the eyes of an 8 year old. I can me mesmerized by a butterfly, or a seashell, or a concrete slide, or I can get caught up in the adrenaline rush of running on the beach for no good reason at all until I feel like I’m going to collapse. I can still find the joy in life… and most times, it’s the simplest moments that bring me the most happiness.
I hope you all enjoyed this week’s Photo Friday and hope you all take a moment this fine weekend to see the City through the eyes of an 8 year old. Climb a tree, run for no reason, slide down a concrete slide, chase a butterfly (without touching it of course!) or just take a moment to enjoy the simplest pleasures that this great City has to offer. The possibilities are endless! 🙂
I hope you have a great weekend and look forward to you stopping by the blog again next week when I’ll be back in full swing and focusing on San Francisco Real Estate once again!