Waterville, Vermont Playground

You never know where or when you will come across an awesome historic playground! The small town of Waterville, Vermont is such an example. The current library and town offices are housed in the former Waterville Central School, which is a classic 1930s two-room schoolhouse (a relatively common building type in Vermont). The school sits on a hill above the road, with its playground in front, basketball court and playing field behind the school.

The Waterville School.

The Waterville Central School.

Rear of the Waterville school - the window banks are classic indications of schools. This building had two classrooms as indicated by the windows.

Rear of the Waterville school – the window banks are classic indications of schools. This building had two classrooms as indicated by the windows.

This ramshackle playground remains on the property grounds, though it’s fallen into disrepair. A passerby mentioned that a couple used to take care of the playground, but he’s not sure what happened in recent years. Still, it’s a great look at a historic playground. I call this one historic because it has presumably original equipment and it is located in its historic setting.

View of the playground from the school.

View of the playground from the school.

The playground sits below the school.

The playground sits below the school.

Look at that slide built into the hill!

Look at that slide built into the hill!

Obviously, I had to test the slide!

Obviously, I had to test the slide!

The worn merry-go-round and swings in the background.

The worn merry-go-round and swings in the background.

One seesaw where there used to be two.

One seesaw where there used to be two.

This leads me to guess that it's a handmade seesaw.

This leads me to guess that it’s a handmade seesaw.

Playground swings.

Playground swings.

Another view of the swings.

Another view of the swings.

A swingset on the playground with a seesaw, swings, and steps to nowhere - probably previously to a slide.

A swing set on the playground with a seesaw, swings, and steps to nowhere – probably previously to a slide.

Only two steps on the swing set.

Only two steps on the swing set.

A slide would have been here, it seems.

A slide would have been here, it seems.

How old is this playground? Many of the apparatuses appear homemade, which makes it more difficult to determine. However, based on the type of equipment it is plausible to say that playground dates to the early days of the school, ca. 1930s. Anyone have any thoughts on that? Maybe there was even a giant stride on the playground (sadly, no signs of one). But, what a great playground, right? Now it just needs some TLC.

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7 thoughts on “Waterville, Vermont Playground

  1. jane says:

    My father built us a swing like those in the 1940’s, just before or just after after WWII. He added a bar for gymnastics on the side – where the see-saw is – about 1948, I regularly shinnied to the top of the poles and practiced flips on the bar. Good memories!

    One way to date the playground would be the bolts, welds, and type of pipe. When would they have been easily available?

    • Karen Langdell says:

      The merry-go-round never had the center until late 80s, the long slide was originally on the side of the swings, until early 90s and then placed next to the small slide on the hill. The teeter-totters (sea-saws) were most likely handmade. My aunt and uncle own the house in the background of the slide pics, so we were there a lot as kids. The had put town offices there, but I’m not sure if it’s being used for that.

  2. Elyse says:

    This one’s difficult! I know that a park in the area in which I grew up had a merry-go-round just like the one shown here, but I am fairly certain that the playground was not 1930s. That slide down the hill is just great! The swing sets remind of the ones at my grade school, and, if they were original (and I believe they were), that school was built in 1955.

    • Kaitlin says:

      Hmm, a good lead. I tend to think of 1950s playground equipment as more “themed” than the standard equipment, and more streamlined in construction, but then again – this is rural Vermont. You might be right!

  3. Darla Heyer says:

    My Grandparents were janitors for the school. My Grandmother Hersa Stockwell used to walk from her house to the school each day to begin the cleaning before my Grandfather Ellis Stockwell came from his other job to help. This shows such dedication for the school and town. They were proud Waterville residents.

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