A Love Letter to the Tire Playground of North Hampton, New Hampshire
Spring will be here before you know it. But it’s just not the same without burn marks on your thighs and tire streaks all over your clothes.
That’s what I think each time I pass by Dearborn Park in North Hampton, New Hampshire. Yes, it still has two nice softball fields and some lovely tennis courts.
But it doesn’t have The Tire Playground.
Not much exists online about The Tire Playground these days. In fact, a Google search by my friend Katelen (whose father, John, worked on construction of our greatest playground) turned up this very New Hampshire review:
Before I turn my attention to investigating North Hampton’s underground soup business, I shall wax poetic about the playground that made every year a Goodyear.
That the tire playground was not designated a local or national landmark is an undeniable travesty. It goes: Boston Garden, then the Hampton Cinemas, then the Hampton Playhouse, then The Tire Playground.
The Tire Playground was the pure danger us '90s kids craved. It could be argued that the children playing soccer, softball, or baseball were actually in less danger than their siblings, who roamed freely on a holy trinity of rubber, wood, and metal.
You’d start on The Pyramid of Tires...
Then you’d make your way across the Tire Bridgeways (because the sand was lava)…
And you’d finally end up on what we always called The Pirate Ship. I don’t know why we called this The Pirate Ship. I guess because we always ended up pushing someone off of it? (Below: some daring dads construct our beloved monstrosity.)
It was either that or burning your hands sliding down The Pole Made of Tire, a 10-foot-long, circular rubber strip suspended between a chain in the ground and a chain overhead.
But I’d completely forgotten the main attraction: The Tire Dragon.
Yeah, there’s a playground there now. But guess what it’s not made of: tires.
So, it’s just not the same. But hold out hope that the flying cars the Jetsons predicted finally come to fruition, so my daughter will have a Tire Playground of her own where she can, well, not play safely but…build character.