Facelift Due for America's First Playground

By Matt Baume
|  Thursday, Aug 19, 2010  |  Updated 12:00 PM PDT
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Facelift Due for America's First Playground

Jimmy Lin on Flickr

The Golden Gate Park Carousel.

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The first public playground appeared right here in the heart of San Francisco 120 years ago. The Children's Playground in Golden Gate Park has since been renamed the Koret Children's Quarter and now it's getting a long-needed overhaul.

"In that era, the idea of providing a dedicated space solely for youth recreation was unique and groundbreaking," says the Department of Recreatio & Park, which is charged with its care. The charming spot even features a carousel that had a tour of duty in the 1939 World's Fair.

Repairs have come in fits and starts. The Carousel got some much-needed restoration in the 70s and 80s, and now an extensive three-part repair is underway across the entire facility. First, the careworn playground saw $3 million in repairs (much to the chagrin of some traditionalists, who lamented the loss of the incredibly dangerous antique equipment). Structural upgrades, like better paving, a stone wall, and stairs will cost $1 million.

Further upgrades were derailed by seismic issues with the nearby McLaren Lodge, named for the park's beloved original superintendent. What's next for the country's first playground? It all depends on future funding sources.

Matt Baume suggests that Rec & Park fundraise with by selling tickets to those awesome concrete slides.

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