Playground Find: Hancock, VT

Hancock, VT is a small town (population 323) located on Vermont Route 100 in Addison County, on the eastern edge of the Green Mountain National Forest. The two-room Hancock Village School was constructed in 1855 and operated as a school until 2009, when school consolidation measures caused the school to close. Since then the building has served as the town library and the town clerk’s office. The school is a contributing resource to the Hancock Village Historic District, which is listed in the Vermont State Register of Historic Places (VHSSS #0108-1-20). A playground remains on the former school grounds.

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Hancock Village School, December 1976 – Vermont State Register of Historic Places.

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Former Hancock Village School (now library and town offices), June 2019. The windows have been replaced.

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Swings with mountains and blue sky in the background.

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View of the jungle gym and the swings.

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The school in the background.

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A newer, plastic side is in on the left. 

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The apparatus is reminiscent of the “Muscle Man” equipment from the 1970s. 

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From the jungle gym: “Quality Industries, Hillsdale, Mich. 200028”

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No markings visible on the swings, but likely they date to the same time or earlier as the jungle gym.

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Swings.

The jungle gym bears the stamp, “Quality Industries, Hillsdale, Mich., 200028.” Quality Industries began in 1974, and the named changed to Recreation Creations, Inc. (RCI) in 1996. The name changed to Recreation Creations, Inc. in 1996. Without more available information, it is difficult to date this date playground equipment. However, it is reminiscent of similar 1970s playground apparatus, such as the Game Time Muscle Man. The edges appear more rounded than the example linked, possibly indicating the Hancock playground is a later design. If you have a better idea of the manufacture date, let me know. The swings did not have any markings on them.

It’s a shame that the building and the grounds no longer serve as a school, but at least the playground remains; what a picturesque spot for a playground.

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.

Swinging Saturday

Doesn’t everybody love swings, young and old alike? As long as I live, I’ll swing on the swings. My sisters will be sure to join.

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A tall steel structure is perfect for swinging high. Pump those legs!

This swing set below is definitely an older model. Based on the size of it, it seems like it was always meant for young children.

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Other than this swing set, I haven’t seen an apparatus with construction: the top bar and additional diagonals to the side crossbar. Have you?

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homemade or manufactured? 

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A close-up of the connection on this apparatus. Look closely and you can see remnants of the green paint.

Are you out swinging in the sunshine? See any old playgrounds? Send some photographs my way, please! More playground posts on PiP.

Craftsbury Standard School & Playground

Historic schoolhouses are commonly found throughout Vermont, some converted to residences, some as museums, some abandoned, some creative rehabilitations, and some remain in educational use. In the 1930s schools faced state regulation, and had to comply with standards in order to become a Vermont “Standard School.” These regulations were for the quality of education. Schools were also required to have a certain amount of light (which is why you see the bank of windows on schoolhouses). When schools met these standards they displayed a plaque (see image below).

Very few have historic playgrounds in the school yard, most likely because of change in use and change in playground regulations. What an exciting find to see this playground at a school in Craftsbury, Vermont.

Historic schoolhouse in Craftsbury, VT.

Historic schoolhouse in Craftsbury, VT.

With a small playground on the property.

With a small playground on the property.

A Standard School.

A Standard School.

The playground has three apparatuses: jungle gym, swings, and a merry-go-round.

The playground has three apparatuses: jungle gym, swings, and a merry-go-round.

The jungle gym seemed so small; it must be for younger kids!

The jungle gym seemed so small; it must be for younger kids!

Swings.

Swings, with a great view over Craftsbury. The metal poles are stamped with presumably the name of the school (too faded to read clearly) and “Craftsbury Vermont.”

It's a bit low to the ground, but it's still completely functional.

It’s a bit low to the ground, but it’s still completely functional.

A bicycle rack!

A bicycle rack!

The date of this playground equipment is likely the 1920s/1930s. I’ve yet to find a giant stride; have you?