Swings installed in Carr Square - 1901

Here's a news article describing life for the children in the Carr Square tenement district in 1901. The Turners is a reference to The Turner Society movement. 

The St Louis Republic

24 Jun 1901, Mon · Page 7 


Youngsters Have Organized a System by Which All May Have a Chance to Enjoy Themselves. 

The popularity of the swings placed In the public parks and playgrounds of St. Louis by the Turners is evidenced by the multitudes of children who fill to overflowing all the parks where the swings are placed from early morning until the keepers turn them down for the night. These children are kept off the streets and contest good-naturedly all day long for "turns” in the swings. 

Perhaps the swings are more popular In Carr Square, where children come from as far as Chestnut street, Madison street, Jefferson avenue and the river. There are two and one-half acres in this square. In the center is a big fountain, and to the east of it are placed six swings three for the girls, two for the boys and one for the negro children. One of the swings for girls is broken and out of use, and the children are clamoring for its repair. 

Keeper Louis Kindermann has promised to repair it, and the children are harpy. He says: 

“There are no lights In the square, so I have to turn the swings down at 7 o'clock in the evening. In the morning as early as 5 o'clock I have found the children in the park waiting for me to put the swings up. Several times big boys have put them up and all would be full of children before 7 o'clock In tho morning. 

“The boys and girls stay here all day. I never had so many of them to look after in all my life. They scramble for the swings, and the ones who are left out come to me to put the others out. It goes on that way all day. A red-headed boy has assumed command of the swings and has appointed four subordinates — two boys and two girls. With these he bosses the swings, and is getting up a system of turns." 

By 6 o'clock every evening from 500 to 600 children of half a dozen nationalities gather In the square. They swarm over the half dozen swings. Those who can not get a swing play games in the park. 

A few nights ago the children rebelled against the red-headed lad's command of the swings. He slipped away, and in a short time returned with a dozen lads of his own age. All had broom sticks As they charged a gate the keeper ran them out. But they slipped in at another point, and in a short time took charge of the swings Since then the red-haired boy has been in absolute control. 

The grass has been tramped down, and around the swings there are several inches of dust. The children would not give up the swings, and the mothers like them. The park keeper will make an effort to reserve the hour between 6 and 7 o’clock for babies, when their mothers can swing them.

It's a shame the red-haired boy was not named. I'd like to know if they ended up in jail or CEO.


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