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would select such a site, because he knows that his customers will not climb the hill to buy of him. It is just as great an effort to climb a hill to go to school as it is to buy a stick of *■ ndy. After you once reach, the store it is just as well on the top of the hill as anywhere else. But the hilltop is useless as a school playground when you once get there, as there are very few games that can be played on a hillside. A. hillside is much more appropriate for a private house than a school. The house does not require very much space, and not much terracing is required to make the yard nearly level. But for a school the whole block has to be put into one or two terraces, as nearly level as may be. The grading required will probably cost as much as the site, or more. A terrace always tends to gully out and is a source of constant expense. The terraces should be sodded or walled at once or covered with honeysuckle or some such vine. The honeysuckle will add greatly to the beauty of the bank, and it will hold it like a stone wall. The New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad is covering its cuts through Rhode Island and Connecticut with rambler roses, and it may be that these would be serviceable for school terraces in some localities. If it be found that the school occupies a site that can not be leveled without a prohibitive expense, the site should be given up.


When an appropriate piece of land has been secured and leveled off, the next step should be the location of the building upon it. When a city hall or a courthouse is to be built, it has become the custom to place it in the center of a large block, which is treated as a sort of park, after the fashion of the English, country residence. This park gives the needed space, so that one can get a view of the building and observe its architectural features. Where the space around the building is used as a park, there is no lost space and no conflict in the two uses. The central location is justified by the fact that this is a city building that all are to see: and its architecture is an asset to the city. When we consider the location of the school building, however, the decisive question should be the purpose to be served. If the school is erected to please the passer-by and to be an ornament to the city, then the architect should be allowed to place it with a view to securing architectural effects, and he will place it in the center of the plot in most cases. The building should be surrounded with grass, and the children should not be allowed to play upon it. If, on the other hand, the school is intended for the education and welfare of the children, the building should not be located in the center of their playground. The architecture of the building has little, if any, effect upon them, while play is the most fundamental thing in child nature. If the building is placed in the center of the ground and the children are allowed to play on all sides of it, the grass is soon killed off, the surroundings become bare and unattractive, and the location is the worst possible. It may be said, too, of most of the buildings so located that they have few architectural features to exhibit, and a vista only serves to set off their ugliness. But even if all the ground is used, and the grass is not respected: it is impossible in most cases to have play that is vigorous and worth while when the school building is placed in the center of the site, because this usually leaves only a fringe of ground that is not large enough in any place for play. Instead of having the windows on one side to protect from balls and missiles, the windows on all sides have to be protected. If the school ground is to be used, it is better for the architectural effect as well as for purposes of play to locate the building at one end of the block, within 15 or 20 feet of the sidewalk. This space in front of the building can be parked, laid out to flower beds or ornamental shrubbery, protected with a low hedge or a fence covered with vines, and kept intact for architectural effect.1


Unless the climate is rainy and cold, it will be an advantage to plant vines over the school building. Vines make the building cooler in the warm parts of the year, and the touch of green that they add is generally welcome. Wisteria will make it a great flower garden in spring. The ivies will furnish a glow of grateful color in the fall. Where a strip of land 3 or 4 feet wide about the building is prepared for vines and flowers, it often adds very greatly to the appearance of the school and to its comfort during the warmer months.


The school yards of many of our cities are a disgrace to the systems to which they belong. I believe that much less than 50 per cent of the yards of the country are in condition to use. Covered with brickbats and piles of ashes, gullied out by the rains, with the roots of trees projecting in places, they furnish an almost impossible surface over which to run. Not more than one-quarter as large as they should be in most cases, the space should be utilized to the fullest extent. But in actual fact not more than 25 per cent of play efficiency can be secured from the yards of many a school system. There is many a school site that has cost $10,000 or more that has received less than $100 afterwards to make it available for the play of the children. The school trustees finish the school building and apparently for

1 Note.—The author overlooks one of the strongest reasons for locating a school building In the center of Its lot, namely, the desirability of removing classrooms as far as possible from the noises and distractions of the street. Practically, all such questions must be determined by balancing the advantages against the disadvantages. The advantages of the location favored by the author arc well set forth; the weight of the disadvantages In any particular case will necessarily determine the result.—Editor.

get all about the playground, leaving the dirt taken from the cellar unleveled and the ground full of holes and hummocks. It seems almost incredible that this should be so frequently true as observation shows it to be. Yet even if it does cost $1,000 to grade and surface a $10,000 yard, it surely is not wisdom to throw away the $10,000 for the lack of the one. In many cases all that is needed is to dismiss the school early one afternoon and set the children with rakes and hoes to filling in gullies, raking up cinders and bricks, digging up projecting stones, and cutting off roots. Probably half the school yards of the country could be improved 50 per cent by this simple expedient.

As in the other features, it is easy to see that the interests of play have been disregarded also in surfacing school yards. In the play of men three surfaces have been approved—grass for baseball, football, and games requiring a large space; a sandy loam or sand-covered clay for tennis courts; and cinders for running tracks. Where the school playground has been surfaced at all, it has generally been with brick, cement, gravel, or broken stone. The requirements of the case are a surface that is smooth; that does not get muddy after rains or dusty in dry weather; that is springy beneath the feet and soft to fall upon; that does not get overhot in summer or slippery in winter; that does not wear out the play apparatus and the clothes of the children unduly; and, more than all, that does not wear out their nervous systems from its shocks and bruises. It is not easy to find a surface which meets all these requirements. Probably we shall have to manufacture a surface for the playground as we do for the street before we shall get one that is entirely satisfactory.

Grass.—Wherever a school can have grass on the yard and have play at the same time, grass is a good surface for most games, but this is usually possible only in country schools, where there is a large yard and a small number of children. In the South I have seen Bermuda grass that had a good start stand the intensive play of a city school. Perhaps its wider use will be a solution of the problem for the smaller cities of the South, but in most cases play and grass are antagonistic, and the school must choose between them. A school that chooses grass for decorative purposes instead of play might with equal wisdom choose a wall pattern in place of a blackboard for its classrooms.

Brick.—Not a few of the school yards in our great cities are surfaced with brick. I imagine that this surfacing must have been chosen by the janitor. It is an admirable yard for his purposes. It does not get muddy after rains or "track" into the school building. It is so hard to run over that the children prefer the street, thus causing the janitor the least possible amount of annoyance. At its best, brick is hard and unyielding, with shocks upon the nervous system at every step or jump. To fall upon it means a bad bruise on the knee and often a hole through the trousers. Most of the bricked yards that I have known have been more or less uneven, or contained soft bricks, where the water would stand after rains. In frosty weather the brick holds the frost, which makes it a very difficult surface to run or walk over. If the members of any school board now providing brick for school yards would go out and play one game of indoor baseball upon it, they would take it out the next day if possible. No company of men ever has or ever would consent to play on a brick playground. Brick is better adapted to tennis than it is to most of the games that the children play, but I have not heard of any bricked tennis courts furnished by the tennis clubs.

Cement.—Cement is better than brick. It is not so slippery or uneven, and it is easier to run over. In very large schools with very small yards, like those of New York City, cement or asphalt may be the only really practical surface now available, but nearly the samg objections apply to cement as to brick.

Gravel and broken stone.—Both of these surfaces, especially the former, have been much used in surfacing school yards and are generally unsuitable, not so much from the necessity of the case as from the materials selected. Anyone who has attempted to run over a heap of macadam or a surface covered with loose pebbles knows how difficult it is. The loose stones turn the ankle and cause constant slight sprains that weary the runner. To fall upon these sharpened pebbles means a serious bruise. For the children all these conditions are ten times worse, because so many of them go barefoot in the spring and summer, an,d pebbles mean constant bruises on the feet and toes. A yard of this kind will wear out a pair of shoes in a few weeks; baseballs and volley balls will get ragged with a day's wear. The yard probably destroys enough clothing and apparatus every year to pay for surfacing it properly. There should be no gravel or broken stone on a school yard larger than a small pea or, better, a No. 4 shot. The small, round gravel that is used in the Chicago playgrounds, known as torpedo gravel, makes a fairly satisfactory surface for play. The dust macadam, such as is used for the finest top dressing of drives and tennis courts, also makes a satisfactory surface. The torpedo gravel costs about $1.50 per cubic yard. One yard will cover about 100 square yards of surface. It may be obtained of building contractors. The broken stone will be found to be hard to run over, to wear out clothes and play apparatus rapidly, and to be generally unsuitable for play, but the objection that school boards are apt to make to it is that for some reason it tracks into the schoolhouse. If this macadam is covered with 1 or 2 inches of loam

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