Albert J. Parham Playground
Located south of Willoughby Avenue between Adelphi Street and Clermont Avenue in Brooklyn, this playground is named for Albert Lysander Parham (1914-1990). Mr. Parham generously left Parks $263,700 to fund the extensive renovations made here in 1990. Born on May 11, 1914, Parham was a lifelong Brooklyn resident. He provided additional funding that made possible a community garden in Manhattan known as Albert’s Garden. Albert Parham died on March 29, 1990, leaving a legacy of improved parkland for the benefit of all.
Parham Playground lies adjacent to Clinton Hill Elementary School, on the outskirts of the historic district of Clinton Hill. The neighborhood, which occupies one of the highest elevations in Brooklyn, is named for DeWitt Clinton (1769-1828), former New York City mayor, governor, state senator, and a one-time presidential candidate. Clinton Hill began as a rural retreat in the 1860s. The bucolic character of the area was quickly lost, however, as developers scrambled to build row houses that came to line almost every street. Some remain today, along with the mansions of several of Brooklyn’s most affluent industrialists. Clinton Hill is also known for the Pratt Institute, an industrial and art school founded by Charles Pratt in 1887.
In 1949, the City acquired this property for school and recreational purposes. Formerly the site of a housing complex, it was cleared and in its place a playground opened on July 16, 1954. As one of many ‘Jointly-Operated Playgrounds’ established during the tenure of Parks Commissioner Robert Moses (1888-1981), this playground is developed and maintained by both Education and Parks. The site was selected for park development in order to serve the open space needs of both the school children and the surrounding community.
Formerly known as Clinton Hill Playground, the park was renamed Albert Lysander Parham Playground by Local Law #1 in 1991. The park was renovated in 1985, 1990, and 1996. The Department of Education funded the most recent renovation which included the installation of new basketball and handball courts, benches, a sandbox, tot equipment, and fencing. With its mini-pool, extensive climbing equipment, sprinkler showers and picnic benches, Parham Playground provides a place for children to play and shade for parents and grandparents, beneath the towering oak trees.