The Playground

    We all knew and loved the "Playground".  What you may not realize is that it was not a natural feature at 421 Oak Street.  When the family moved in, the yard was one undisturbed slope to Fourth Street.  Dad had a vision to create a safe play area for his children, and thus began a monumental task to create a level playing field, (to coin the phrase.)

    Written in Mom's handwriting in the photo album where these photos reside, were these words. "Sod, but true.  John spent a real vacation and more digging and sodding to make a level spot in the side yard, 1939.

Digging and Sodding.Man with a vision.John M. Wells

    Much of the work was done by hand, but as the picture below shows some heavy horsepower was brought in for the "Final work on grading for the 'playground'."

Final work on grading.

    The next project involved moving the very large stone from it's position just outside the west door, to it's current position at the bottom of the west porch steps.  This was accomplished in May of 1940 with the able assistance of Fred Lawson.

Jacking up the stone.Slab on the incline.

Slab at new grade.

    The new West Porch was the shining star of the project.  This porch would be the site of many family activities.  Dad's design of the benches on either end was prize winning.

John Wells on new West Porch - September 1940.

First the pole.Then the backboard.    In a picture above you may have noticed the basketball backboard attached to the tree.  It's location was moved several times.  At one time it was attached to the garage, but finally a pole was salvaged from Union Electric, when the football field lighting was upgraded. It was firmly implanted at the North end of the playground.  That backboard was the site of many spirited family games of 'horse'.

   Other games at the playground included horse-shoes, croquet, baseball, and fox-n-geese.  Swing sets also appeared.  We were even treated to a musical saw performance there one evening.

Snow play  Feb 1940Are we posing, Mom?Esther rolls a snowman head - winter 39-40


1940 - The snow baby and daddy were created by Dick and Jack - The snow angel was created by Esther.
 The snowfalls in Hamilton were welcomed as enjoyable events.  Other outdoor activities included sledding, skiing, fox and geese, snowball fights, snow fort construction, and ice skating.

    There will be more stories added to this account of family life at the playground, because so many of the Wells Clan have felt the benefits of visiting this place over the years.

    The playground area that Dad put so much effort into to enrich our lives became the final resting place for his ashes.

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