Once Upon a Playground (Hardcover)

A Celebration of Classic American Playgrounds, 1920–1975

By Brenda Biondo, Susan Solomon (Foreword by), Darell Hammond (Afterword by)

ForeEdge, 9781611685121, 188pp.

Publication Date: May 6, 2014

List Price: 29.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Before today’s safety-minded structures of wood and plastic, America’s playgrounds were full of tottering seesaws, dizzying merry-go-rounds, and towering metal slides. Documenting the evolution of American playgrounds between 1920 and 1975, Once Upon a Playground is a visual tribute to these iconic structures, celebrating their place in our culture and the collective memories of generations. In it, contemporary photos of vintage pieces of playground equipment are juxtaposed with images of the very same pieces as they were shown in classic catalogs, postcards, and photographs. The result is a haunting time capsule showing a rapidly vanishing part of our country’s cultural heritage. Whatever the playgrounds of your childhood looked like, the gorgeous photographs in this book will transport you back in time and remind you of just how important play can really be.

About the Author

BRENDA BIONDO is a writer and photographer whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Denver Post, USA Weekend magazine, and many other publications. Her photography has been exhibited all over the country, and images from her playground series are in the permanent collection of the Library of Congress. A native New Yorker, Biondo lives in Colorado with her husband and two children. SUSAN G. SOLOMON, a playground historian, is the author of The Science of Play: How to Build Playgrounds that Enhance Children’s Development (forthcoming, UPNE) and American Playgrounds: Revitalizing Community Space. DARELL HAMMOND is the founder and CEO of KaBOOM! and coauthor of How One Man Built a Movement to Save Play. A percentage of author royalties will be donated to KaBOOM! (kaboom.org), a national playground nonprofit.