Giant Strides on the Playgrounds

The giant stride is a long-since-removed playground apparatus that dates from early 1900s. Simply put, it was a tall pole with ropes/ladders attached to it. Children could grab hold of the handles and run in circles, so fast that their feet would leave the ground. For safety reasons, it was mostly removed from playgrounds by the 1960s, though some remain.

Another Giant Stride - at a playground in New York City, ca. 1910-1915. Source: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division (click).

Another Giant Stride – at a playground in New York City, ca. 1910-1915. Source: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division (click).

In graduate school I researched the manufacturing and development of the giant stride, and was fortunate to find a few images of giant strides. I’m jumping back into that research. Readers, have you come across any giant strides or remnants of giant strides? If so, would be willing to share those photographs? If so, please let me know. Your help would be very much appreciated. Here’s what one might look like today:

A giant stride on a Colorado playground. Click for original source.

A giant stride on a Colorado playground. Click for original source.

Previous playground posts on PiP:Playgrounds of YesterdayPreservation Photos #25Woodford PlaygroundPlaygroundsPreservation Photos #57.

Preservation Photos #25

One of the best parts of my semester is researching playground layout and equipment for my HP201: History on the Land course using periodicals. This advertisement above is found in many issues of The American City during 1909-1914 (and later, but those are the years of my research). Have you ever seen such a piece of equipment? The Giant Stride – basically you hold on and run around really fast to where you feel like you’re flying. I’ve seen it referred to as the Flying Steps for that reason. Sounds like fun to me!

I’m intrigued the Giant Stride and am trying to find out more information about it, particularly its evolution of construction. Do any of you readers happen to know about the Giant Stride? Do you have pictures, stories, or perhaps an AG Spalding & Bros. catalog? Or any other playground catalog? The early 20th century versions are hard to find, but would be a great help to my research! Thank you!