Playground Find: Ladysmith, VA

You never know when you’re going to find an old playground. By “old” I mean “vintage”, as in pre 1980s. On a recent family trip, we needed to find a place to stop for a picnic dinner and to let the baby stretch her legs for a while. Anyone who has traveled with kids knows that you don’t always gets to pick your exit – you make do with what you find. We turned off I-95 at Exit 110 for Ladysmith, VA, looking for a park. Not too far from the exit, on Route 639, we found a school.

The school is the former C.T. Smith School, built in the 1960s, which, not surprisingly, replaced a school from the early 20th century. C.T. Smith closed in 2009 due to school consolidation. Since then, the school has become a community space. The grounds still contain playing fields, basketball courts, and a small playground. The only pieces of playground equipment were a jungle gym and a slide, but they peaked my interest.

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My elementary school had this exact playground piece, only larger. This one appeared to be for the younger elementary school kids. You might call it a jungle gym. It has monkey bars, climbing bars, and more. My friends and I found hours of entertainment on it during recess. Its official name is the “Giant Outdoor Muscle Man” produced ca. 1971 by GameTime, Inc.

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From the book, “Once Upon A Playground” by Brenda Biondo.

The second playground apparatus was a classic metal slide, also made by Game Time, Inc., presumably from the same era.

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Also a GameTime Inc apparatus.

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Stamped on the underside of the slide steps.

When looking at aerial photos on http://www.historicaerials.com, the playground was not visible (to my eyes) until the 1990s. However, this playground equipment does not date from the 1990s; the 1970s is accurate. It is possible that a) the resolution of the aerial photography wasn’t clear enough to show the equipment and they blended into the ground or b) this playground was moved from another school in the 1990s.

What do you think? And, have you played on a “Giant Outdoor Muscle Man”? Have you seen any GameTime, Inc. equipment lately?

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3 thoughts on “Playground Find: Ladysmith, VA

  1. Susie says:

    These playground pieces look so familiar! It’s hard to find a playground that hasn’t been updated these days. I’ll definitely be looking for these now though!

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