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History of Play - Introduction


Everything has a history - even play! 

Recognizing children as a distinct, and growing population in American urban centers, Parker and others throughout the nation attempted to create specialized places for children’s play.

This episode will argue that building carefully cultivated spaces for play in Hartford at the turn of the century was an integral part of creating order in the city. Parker and other reformers were often ambitious: they thought that new systems for play and leisure for people across the life span were essential to creating good citizens, and stronger people and they often sought out ways to dedicate huge plots of land to this purpose. These reformers have had a huge impact – even to the present – on how we think about dividing city spaces for different age groups.

Today, we might take for granted the idea that young people should have special sites for play and that older people should have special halls for socialization – but these ideas have a history, and we can see how this manifested in Hartford through the visual records.