Mellett Playground

Mellett Playground

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

What was here before?

This was once the site of the Department of Water Supply, Gas & Electricity (DWSGE), which installed pipes throughout the area to bring modern conveniences to the neighborhood.

How did this site become a playground?

This site was vested to the City of New York from DWSGE in 1938 and transferred by the Board of Estimate, a defunct government body, to Parks in 1940. The playground opened in 1941 and was funded in part by the New Deal-era Works Progress Administration (WPA). The playground contained a separate section for young children with a sandpit, seesaws, slides, swings, a shower basin, and a surfaced area for adults and adolescents that featured a softball diamond and comfort station.

The formerly unnamed playground was designated Mellett Playground in 1950. In 2022, the playground was rebuilt to include new steel play equipment, spray shower, landscaping, and multigenerational play areas.

Who is this playground named for?

This playground is named in honor of Corporal Francis J. (1920-1945) and Private John Mellett (1922-1945), Sheepshead Bay brothers who fought in World War II. Both volunteered for perilous duties and ultimately perished in the conflict.

The Mellett brothers enlisted in the 71st National Guard in April 1940. After several incidents of brothers dying together in battle during World War II, most notably the five Sullivan brothers of Waterloo, Iowa, the United States military instituted an unofficial policy of separating brothers in order to prevent one family from losing multiple members in a single battle. Despite their separation, both Francis and John Mellett were killed within two months of each other.

Corporal Francis J. Mellett volunteered for the paratroopers and served with the 506th Paratroop Infantry, stationed in England. He jumped in the invasion of Normandy and Holland but died in the Battle of the Bulge on January 13, 1945, at Bastogne, Belgium. Private John Mellett served in Attu and Kiska, Alaska, for two years. Upon returning to the U.S. mainland, he volunteered for further overseas duty and was assigned to the 158th Combat Infantry. Private Mellett was killed on March 12, 1945, on the Philippine island of Luzon.

Park Information

Directions to Mellett Playground

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