Over one hundred years ago, settlement workers Lillian D. Wald and Charles B. Stover founded the Outdoor Recreation League (ORL) to promote organized games in public playgrounds as an alternative to play in city streets. Between 1898 and 1902 ORL opened nine privately sponsored playgrounds on municipal parkland. Soon after the City of New York assumed operations of ORL playgrounds in 1902, the facility at Seward Park became the first permanent, municipally built playground in the United States. It opened on October 17, 1903, in the north corner of the park. With its cinder surfacing, fences, recreation pavilion, and play and gymnastic equipment, the facility became a model for playground programming and design.
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