DeKalb Playground, located on Lafayette Avenue between St. James Place and Classon Avenue and also known as Classon Playground, takes its name from Revolutionary War hero General Baron Johann DeKalb (1721-1780), remembered as one of the most courageous and skilled of the many foreigners who embraced the cause of American liberty.
DeKalb, born in Huettendorf, Germany, received his training in the French military service and became a brigadier-general in 1747. He made his first trip to the colonies as a secret agent during the French and Indian War (1754-1763). After traveling in disguise throughout the colonies to determine the level of their antagonism toward the British, DeKalb returned to Paris convinced of the colonists’ dissatisfaction. In 1777, General Lafayette decided to go to America to assist the colonists in their fight and asked Baron DeKalb to accompany him.
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