Swimming Pool Opening Promising For Greater Eagle Rock Plans
The swimming pool situated as it is in its surrounding of beauty that nature has fashioned with that infinite artistry that only nature can attain, no doubt today just as it was when the first white man paused in startled surprise, as he came upon this valley of surpassing charm and scenic appeal, is the culmination, of a long-cherished desire, the outcome of a dream of many months realized, the history of which is best set forth in the following letter addressed to C. A. Butler, from Mr. H. H. Maxson, the man who spent much time and effort in securing the playground for Eagle Rock and who sent greetings and regrets at being unable to attend;
“I fully appreciate your kind invitation to be present at the festivities to be held on the 31st inst. At which time it is proposed to dedicate and open the newly completed swimming pool to the use of our rising generation. Will you please express to my good friends and associates my deepest regret in not finding it possible to be present on this memorable occasion, for I have had the keenest interest in this project since Its inception and naturally would like to assist in every phase of its development to the completion of every detail of the original plan. Perhaps in another year, mv health and private affairs will permit my giving some time to civic interests.
At any rate, as you suggest, I can give you a brief history of events leading up to our acquiring this tract of land which I consider admirably adapted both geographically and topographically to the use of a children’s playground. In the summer of 1924 the idea occurred to me through seeing my boy and other children utilizing the sidewalk and other public thoroughfares for their scooters, silverwood wagons, baseball and football games that the Children were not only endangering their own lives and limbs, but the neighbors were reminding the police department of ordinances prohibiting the children from using streets and sidewalks for this purpose.
When you and I were youngsters there were plenty of vacant lots where we could mark out a baseball diamond and carry on without fear of being chased off the premises. But not so any more in this rapidly building metropolis. Children must have some means for expending their energies in good healthful sport and healthful recreation. The public playground properly supervised, is in my opinion next to the public schools the best investment we can make towards the upbuilding of good citizens, for the more children are encouraged in good clean sports, the less likely they are to get into mischief and perhaps later develop the criminal instinct so noticeable nowadays among boys and girls in their teens and early twenties. Of course the playground movement is not altogether new in Los Angeles, but up till the fall of 1924 Eagle Rock had not been included appropriations for this purpose, hence I took it upon myself to urge our Chamber of Commerce get busy, where upon I was delegated on October 21, 1924 to lead the fight for recognition of our rights.
Support of the Women’s Twentieth Century Club, represented by Mrs. H. I. Cruzan, the Parent-Teacher Association led by Mrs. J. C. Reiter and assisted by Mrs. L. M. Maynard, we proceeded to storm the Playground Commission. Councilman Edwin Baker’s influence was brought into play and Mr. Charles Lamb, secretary of the Playground commission was invited to come out and address the local organizations on the possibilities of an appropriation for a recreation center in Eagle Rock. Encouraged by Mr. Lamb’s remarks the interest grew and likewise, complications began to develop. Superintendent Raitt came oat and inspected sites we proposed. The first one was over on Chickasaw, small it is true, but not yet knowing how strong the Commission would go, we had to lead up to the larger tracts yet to be considered, finally, Mr. Raitt suggested we go out and find about a ten-acre tract that could be secured for about $40,000 and perhaps the Commission would consider it. Then the fun began as well as the anxious period, for other parts of the city, learning that the Playground department’s bond issue was about exhausted, commenced using their influence, in order that it might not become generally known how well organized we were or how determined we might be to get ours, no publicity was given to our plans. My three lady lieutenants were sworn to secrecy and no men ever kept a secret better and but few ladies could have kept it longer.
For fear that some ambitious realtor might get wise to what was going on, and for other reasons most vital to success, all meetings were held behind closed doors. Maps were prepared and property owners interviewed in some eases without disclosing the real object in view, until the propositions were submitted to the Playground Commission. Out goal was almost reached when the result of similar activities of other communities began to show up. Suspicioning some political play, I appeared at a special meeting of the Commission one day, only to have my suspicions confirmed when I was informed that Sawtelle would probably be favored and then the funds would be exhausted Then our big political guns were brought into action and with the assistance of Councilman Baker, Sawtelle’s batteries were silenced and the Eagle Rock committee’s spirits revived.
To make a long story short, the committee finally accepted our second proposition and on Dec. 11, 1924 this tract, then known as the Stewart property, the most desirable ten acre piece and one of the few remaining pieces of acreage in Eagle Rock was purchased and a check for $50,000 placed in escrow.
Under the provisions of the new city charter, 4 cents of every $l00 of real and personal property in Los Angeles is levied each year for playground purposes, so that we are fortunate in that, for the present at least, ample funds are provided for the proper equipping and maintaining of our playgrounds. And under very capable city supervision at all times.
The citizens of Eagle Rock should be exceedingly grateful, not only for its own committee who put in many anxious hours in acquiring this land but into the playground commission officials who encouraged and supported our effort and no doubt will continue as fast as the funds will permit to complete the installation of apparatus and equipment that the boys and girls of all ages in this community may enjoy their heritage to the fullest extent and for all time to come.
With kindest personal regards I am as always for Eagle Rock.
Very Truly Yours,
H. H. Maxson
-Photo published by the Eagle Rock Chamber of Commerce CA 1934-Copy Eagle Rock Sentinel 8/26/1926