It was good to see the children play at Franklin Park today. The park opened in 1941. So I thought it was kind of a plain park until I read about its history at the Metro Parks Tacoma link (see below). It talked about the now filled Franklin Lake, which sadly was filled in 1969.
“Hoodlum Lake, later called Franklin Lake, was the “old swimming hole” to many boys in the West side of Tacoma. The lake was reputed to have been discovered in the early 1880s by “Biz” Burnham and his brother Nick. Sheltered by a forest of second growth timber and brush and far from the beaten path, it was an ideal place for boys to learn to swim. Some who learned to swim there recalled that it seemed like almost a five-mile walk from the residential district to the lake. John Westover, a sort of combination truant officer and patrolman, tried to make the boys wear bathing suits but the lads ignored his efforts until one day he found their hidden clothes, gathered them up, and would not relinquish them until the boys promised to wear swimming suits. Many of them then began appearing in flour sacks, with holes cut for the legs. “Pillsbury’s Best” in large red letters was splashed across the back of many an improvised bathing suit.”
Now I like Franklin Park even more!