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Marion Hopkinson Playground

Marion & Hopkinson Playground

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

This playground honors two American patriots, Francis Marion (1732-1795) and Francis Hopkinson (1737-1791).

Born in the colony of South Carolina, Francis Marion joined the local militia when neighboring Cherokee tribes began conducting raids along the colony’s western border in 1759. He reenlisted with the militia when the American Revolution (1775-1783) began. After the British took control of Charleston in 1780, Marion started a guerrilla war based in South Carolina’s swamps. His ability to lead his men deftly and stealthily through this terrain is how he became known as “The Swamp Fox.”

Francis Hopkinson was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, studied law and received a degree from the College of Philadelphia (later the University of Pennsylvania). In 1774 he received an appointment to the governor’s council, represented New Jersey in the 1776 Continental Congress, and signed the Declaration of Independence. A devoted Federalist, Hopkinson wrote several essays supporting Constitutional ratification and also composed several patriotic songs. Hopkinson used his artistic abilities to design the seals of the American Philosophical Society, the State of New Jersey, and various departments of the United States government.

Parks acquired this property, at the corner of Hopkinson Avenue and Marion Street, in 1935 and opened it in 1938. More than $1 million of improvements were completed here in 2006 and brought new garden areas, a basketball court, play equipment, and a sitting area to the park. One of the pathways in the park follows the original route of the Jamaica Plank Road, which dates to the Revolutionary War. Other features include a toddler spray area, climbing geodesic dome, and steel perimeter fencing featuring ornamental gates.

In 2006, the Parks Department’s in-house redesign of Marion & Hopkinson Playground received the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce’s “Building Brooklyn” award. The majority of funding came from the City Council budget, with additional funding from the mayor’s office. Thanks to all these contributions, Parks has been able to reestablish Marion & Hopkinson Playground as a vibrant playground and a gathering space for the entire community.

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