101st Street Playground
The 101st Street Playground at the intersection with Seventh Avenue outside and south of Oakwood Cemetery’s gates had been opened in 1908. In its early years it had been called the First Street Playground, the addition of 100 to street names in Lansingburgh after its annexation to Troy taking some time to occur. The land for the playground had been leased by the City of Troy from the Troy Cemetery Association.
In 1940 the City voted to close the playground, though during the 1940s the Troy Times sometimes referred to it still being in use. In 1946 the area was proposed as a place for emergency housing for war veterans but that may have at most resulted in the playground being reduced in size, as there continued to be references to it being in use at least as late as 1956.
Wednesday afternoon at 3 o’clock the playground for Lansingburgh will be formally opened. The playground is located at the corner of Seventh Avenue and First Street, near the entrance to Oakwood Cemetery. The general public are invited to attend the opening. Mayor Mann will take part in the exercises. The officers and ladies of the Women’s Improvement League, of which Miss Ida Munn is the President, are requested to be on hand by 2 o’clock. It is through the efforts of the members of this league that the playground is possible. The playground at Prospect Park is also under their supervision. The committee in charge of the arrangements includes Mrs. W. B. Madden, Chairman; Mrs. E. L. Grimes, Mrs. Hobart Warren Thompson and Mrs. Henry J. McCune. The ground will be in charge of Miss Carolyn Banker, who was formerly in charge of the playground in Pittsburg, Penn., and who has been first assistant at Prospect Park during the summer. A caretaker will be furnished by the city and one of the Women’s Improvement League. Among the many things installed for the children are two sandpits, a slide, basketball court and a maypole. The Young Men’s Christian Association will furnish a basketball instructor. Wednesday afternoon a reception will be held following the opening exercises and there will be music by a band. In case of rain the opening will be held Thursday afternoon.
Troy Times. August 24, 1908: col 6.
The opening of the new playground at the corner of Seventh Avenue and First Street, near the entrance to Oakwood Cemetery, will take place to-morrow afternoon under the direction of the officers of the Women’s Improvement League, through whose efforts the work has been completed. The public in general has been invited to attend the opening exercises and Mayor Mann will deliver an address. Doring’s Band will be in attendance, and there will be vocal selections by Fred C. Comstock. The opening address will be delivered by Rev. Dr. Hector Hall, and there will be remarks by Rev. Charles H. Walker. The playground will be formally opened by Mayor Mann.
Troy Times. August 25, 1908: 5 col 4.
OPENING OF NEW PLAYGROUND.
Addresses by Two Well Known Clergymen—A Large Attendance—Many Boys and Girls Make Use of the Devices For Amusement.
The great crowd of people, old and young, that was present yesterday afternoon at the formal opening of the children’s playground in Lansingburgh shows that the Women’s Improvement League has the good will of the community in its efforts to better the conditions of Troy’s children. The weather was threatening all day, but though cloudy no rain fell during the exercises. The playground is located at the head of First Street, just south of the entrance to Oakwood Cemetery, and it is to the Cemetery Association that the ladies and children are indebted for the use of the lot. All of the apparatus has not as yet arrived, but at present four swings, two sand pits, a maypole and a baseball field afford excellent opportunities for good times. Later a basketball court will be made and an instructor from the Young Men’s Christian Association will be on hand to teach the game. A slide is also expected to be on hand in a few days. The playground will be open for three weeks before school opens, and from the way “Young American” took hold yesterday there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the fun-making devices will lie idle except after dark.
Mrs. George H. Blake is Chairman of the playground for the Women’s Improvement League and Miss Caroline Banker, who has been assistant supervisor at Prospect Park all summer, will have complete supervision of the children at the new playground. The committee of the league to whose efforts the success of the opening of the new playground is due are Mrs. William B. Madden, mrs. E. L. Grimes, Mrs. H. W. Thompson and Mrs. H. K. McCune.
The exercises yesterday were opened with selections by Doring’s Orchestra, which was stationed on a small platform at the east end of the ground. American flags and bunting were used in decorating the place. Rev. Hector Hall, D. D., was introduced as the first speaker of the afternoon. Dr. Hall referred to the importance of the occasion and said he could readily see one great result, and that would be a decrease in the death-rate of Troy’s children and the falling off in business for the doctors, undertakers and grave-diggers, whereas there would be an increase for the butcher, the baker, the tailor and shoemaker. Dr. Hall spoke of the necessity of play to make our youths healthy. He said: “All school and no play makes John a dull boy, but we must remember also that all play and no school will make John a fool.” The speaker mentioned the three R’s of schoolroom fame and suggested three applicable to the playground—running, riding and ‘restling. In closing Dr. Hall spoke of three great benefits to be derived from the playground—fair play, courtesy and cleanliness.
After Dr. Hall’s address Fred C. Comstock rendered “Love Me and the World Is Mine” and “I’m Afraid to Go Home in the Dark.” In the latter song the boys and girls joined their voices to that of the soloist. Mr. Comstock then led the gathering in singing “America,” after which Rev. Charles H. Walker of the First Presbyterian Church of Lansingburgh made the closing address. He dwelt upon the necessity of play in the education of boys and girls. He spoke of the boys and girls as the “greatest national asset that beats all others.” Mr. Walker told of the town of Paisley, what a fine lot of people and how prosperous they were until one day when someone suggested that more money could be made by putting the boys and girls to work at the looms instead of sending them to be educated. It was not very long before the town of Paisley was weakened and its decline was rapid. The playground is a contribution to the health and wealth of our city and nation. By getting the boys interested in the playground we remove from our streets the possibilities of hoodlumism. In closing Mr. Walker congratulated the ladies on their wisdom and success in the carrying out of excellent ideas.
After Doring’s Orchestra rendered “The Star Spangled Banner” Rev. Mr. Walker, acting for Mayor Mann, who was unable to be present, officially declared the playground open, and the exercises closed with a selection by the orchestra. From that time until dark the swings and other amusements were kept busy by the great number of children, each part of the grounds being in charge of one of the ladies.
Troy Times. August 27, 1908: 10 col 2.
The formal opening yesterday of four new tennis courts at the North End playground on First Street, Lansingburgh, is another step forward in making this playground one of the most up-to-date, complete and fully equipped of any in this section. The efficiency of Miss Evanetta Hare, President of the Woman’s Improvement League, and the generosity of the city in helping to build up the playground, together with the earnest work of those directly in charge, have combined to help materially in making the ground all that the promoters could desire. The grounds are situated in a well-shaded part of First Street, at the right-hand entrance to Oakwood Cemetery. The city has recently installed a new sixty-foot steel slide on the grounds, in addition to the racetrack, which has been laid out, a new swing and two comfort stations. Yesterday afternoon Miss M. Logan, the Physical Director, had her classes in pitchball and quoits for the boys and touchball and folk-dancing for the girls. She has classes on Thursdays and Fridays. This afternoon there was the May-pole dance. Daily programs are carried out under the direction of Miss Caroline Banker, and her assistant, Miss Antoinette Hait. Miss Emma Whitaker is Chairman in charge of the grounds. Mrs. Merrill has sixty little girls in her classes in sewing. The playground has an average daily attendance of 125 children.
Troy Times. August 12, 1910: 8 col 7.