Road Trip Report 4

I don’t know what it is about the Midwest, but I have never seen so many cool playgrounds. (I still love them.) At least every place that I’ve been living – the good playgrounds (i.e. made of metal and big enough for people over 7 years old) have been torn down and replaced with Fisher-Price type plastic (safer?) playgrounds that are not any fun once you get over 9 years old. This happened at my elementary school, the town park, and countless others. However, driving through the Midwest on these US highways, Vinny and I have spotted so many “old-school” playgrounds. I don’t know any method for dating them except by saying they are more than a couple of decades old. 

One place we stayed, Camp Dearborn in Milford, Michigan, had the best playgrounds I’ve seen in a long time. There were so many, some used more than others. There was what I would call an original baby playground, only it was all metal, just toddler sized. That one, however, was abandoned and a tad eerie. (I found that one while we were running, thus I do not have a picture.)  This one, below, I loved. Check out the long wavy slide and the bridge. 


Playground at Camp Dearborn.

Playground at Camp Dearborn.

Same playground, different view.

Same playground, different view.

Are there any reading materials for the history of playgrounds? I’d love to read it.

4 thoughts on “Road Trip Report 4

  1. Aaron Finley says:

    I went to camp dearborn in the 70’s as a kid and I remember this thing then… It was awesome. I totally miss the old metal dangerous kind of playground areas from that era! glad to see they aren’t all gone.

  2. Kaitlin says:


    I was wondering how old that equipment might be. Thanks for the clue. Do you remember if it was new in the 70s? That is my favorite type of playground equipment, too.

  3. steve brown says:

    I too used to go to Camp Dearborn as a kid in the 70’s and remember it being “not new”. I can’t tell you how excited I was to see these pictures you took. It took me right back to my childhood playing on this exact piece of equipment 🙂 The whole playground was HUGE and spread out from what I remember. My favorite slide had some kind of crazy clown face or something. They also had this amazing rocket thing to climb in.
    Oddly enough my dad worked at the camp when he was like 20 as a painter! I’ll ask him if he remembers this equipment in the 60’s. The camp opened in 1947 I think so it could have been put in in the late 50’s or early 60’s.
    PLEASE e-mail me if you have any other pics from your Camp Dearborn trip. I’d love to see more.

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