Vanport, 1946

Children gathered around a maypole playground structure posing for a photo to publicize the efforts of Vanport citizens to raise funds for a summer recreation program, May 22, 1946.


Vanport children gathered around maypole playground structure, May 22, 1946: A2001-025.723

Vanport children gathered around maypole playground structure, May 22, 1946: A2001-025.723


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11 thoughts on “Vanport, 1946

  1. There is an image of what appears to be a quail in the clouds to the upper right. Even in 1946 Portlandians were putting a bird on it. 🙂

    (Yes, I know it’s defect in the photo, but I couldn’t resist.)

  2. Dave…try this Wikipedia site…there’s a whole history about this item…of course, we didn’t know all that stuff way back when, we just played around, so-to-speak, with the thing and sometimes even made up our own rules…but I do remember that any kind of music helped to make it a lot more fun! Can you say “transistor radio”? 🙂

  3. I played on them — we didn’t call them “Maypoles” they were running swings…. in Bonners Ferry ID in 1953; Girls played on them at recess — I don’t ever remember the boys playing on them. Of course this was 1st grade and we were a huge (for Bonners Ferry) class — we out-numbered the 2nd graders — so girls only may have been part of that demographic shift — boys could play baseball and touch football — girls “couldn’t” at least not at that public school. I thought they were great fun, but when we moved to the big city (Spokane WA) the public school didn’t have them, nor did the parks.

  4. Dave,
    In addition to Maypoles and running swings, they were also known as “flying merry go rounds” and “giant strides (or striders).” You can see one in action in this old silent film at about the 2:07 mark. As you can see from the movie, playground equipment has changed a LOT.

  5. Neat! This is actually a “giant stride”. I have researched these structures for school, and blogged about them too. I love coming across “new” (to me) images. Thanks!

  6. I remember playing on those Maypoles way back in the 60’s while in grade school, they were great! mostly if you were in the SWEET-SPOT (that is when everyone was running and you happened to be the one flying feet off the ground and hanging on for dear-life carried along by everyone else. Don’t loose your grip or you will go flying, great memories.

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