Time flies when you’re having fun: Happy Hollow rec center turns 100

This past Saturday Happy Hollow held their centennial celebration, making it the oldest playground in Philadelphia.

According to historian Rochelle Christopher, in 1911 E.W. Clark, the son of one of most important bankers in Philadelphia, gave a tract of land to the Parks and Recreation Department at Wayne and Logan Streets to be known as Happy Hollow Playground.

“The name Happy Hollow was suggested by Clark’s wife, it suggested the happiness to come to the little ones, and the fact that the playground was in a “hollow” surrounded by tall bluffs or mountains,” explained Christopher.

A number of officials stopped by to offer their congratulations for the milestone anniversary.

Mayor Nutter took a tour of the playground, spoke to community members and shared a few words with the audience.

State Senator Shirley Kitchen, Deputy Mayor of Public Safety Everett Gillison and Representative Rosita Youngblood made appearances. Sam Staten Jr. of Laborers Local Union 332 and City Council nominee Cindy Bass were also in attendance.

The event featured performances by The Happy Hollow Band, singer Darius Coleman and the Eastwick Drill Team.  

The Freestyle Unity Dance Team, Asia Adams Save OUR Children Foundation, Happy Hollow Advisory Council, Victorian Vanities, Inc., and Saint Paul Productions staffed  information tables.

A variety of food, a moon bounce, face painting, and music from 100.3 FM kept the crowd engaged, and Happy Hollow’s own World Boxing Association Cruiserweight Champion, Nate ”Mr.” Miller shared a few words of inspiration.

While the event’s attendance was not what the center had hoped for, volunteers and workers said that they had fun and believed the community did as well.

Host Julian Garret concluded the event by expressing his pride in and gratitude to the Happy Hollow community. “This event proves that our community can come together and that it has potential to be great.”

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.