Woman’s Club History

Compiled by Steve Bankhead


Main Street Playground

The 1916 grand opening of the Main Street Playground, so named because the stretch of Freedom Boulevard behind it was then named Upper Main Street. The playground was later renamed in honor of city alderman P.A. Callaghan. The two large houses in the right side background of the photo remain today on the 800 block of Freedom Boulevard. (PVHA archives)

100 years ago on May 13, 1916: The new playground between Brennan and Sudden streets opened in a burst of glory before an audience of many hundreds. Children romped and played on swings and slides while others performed May Pole dances or participated in foot races, sack races, three-legged races, and other athletic competitions. Mayor W. A. Trafton spoke first to the crowd, giving praise to the Woman’s Club for its involvement in making the playground a success, and also paid tribute to the efforts of Alderman P.A. Callaghan, “the father of the playground.” The main address was delivered by George Dickey, superintendent of Oakland city playgrounds, who offered many interesting thoughts, including: “The playground movement is the all important work in the development and training of the children. Play is to the boy what work is to the man … and the boy without play is like a man without a job, for idleness breeds mischief.”