Thursday, May 31, 2012

31 May 1912: "Play is a serious matter to the child."

On this day in 1912, the Weekly Banner offered the following editorial about the need for Athens to have more playgrounds:

(click to enlarge image)

Improved school playgrounds and the establishment of a city park were part of Mayor H. J. Rowe's play as he came into his second term in January, 1912. Stories that year from around the nation noted cities putting an emphasis on parks and play space for their children, including a "Recreation Congress" in Chicago that was called for by the Playground and Recreation Association of America, a group that included social worker Jane Addams and progressive muckraking journalist Jacob Riis at the helm.

In June, the Civic League, an organization of prominent Athens women,  sent a letter to the Chamber of Commerce about the need to create more playgrounds and parks in town before the property became too valuable. In July, reports that the Civic League were working to have school playgrounds remain open during the summer, so children would have somewhere to play that was near their homes, were also published and supported by the newspaper. These attempts were, however, unsuccessful.

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