Corner Lot Becomes a Playground

Dr. Peter Beitsch bought the old playground rockers about 11 years ago at a mid-century modern show in Palm Springs, Calif. (Photo: Allison Slomowitz
Dr. Peter Beitsch bought the old playground rockers about 11 years ago at a mid-century modern show in Palm Springs, Calif. (Photo: Allison Slomowitz

Rockers add vintage touch to front yard

It’s a 90-degree summer night, but that doesn’t stop Dr. Peter Beitsch from sitting on his front porch while his daughters and other neighborhood kids play in his front yard.

At the corner of Potomac Avenue and Golf Drive in Highland Park, three old silver rockers help pass the time.

Beitsch bought the rockers about 11 years ago at a mid-century modern show in Palm Springs, Calif., before any of his three daughters were born. When he first brought them home, he planted them in his backyard on Armstrong Avenue.

But a few years and moves later, the three silver rockers — a seahorse, caterpillar, and giraffe — found a home in his front lawn instead.

“It was shocking to me that anybody that would walk by would jump on them and play on them,” he said. “And not just the neighborhood kids, but people that would walk through. And then people were riding their bikes to there, so it was great.”

He said he isn’t worried about any liability issues, adding walking on the sidewalk is just as dangerous.

Kirk Smith, development services manager for the town of Highland Park, said the rockers do not violate any town ordinance.

“Code enforcement officers have been by there and the town zoning ordinance does not prohibit those items from being located in his front yard,” Smith said. “Therefore, there’s no known violation to the town’s ordinances with what has been installed there.”

Berkley, Beitsch’s oldest daughter, said she and her sisters usually play on the rockers during the weekends and said their friends enjoy them as well.

Beitsch's daughters enjoy rocking aboard their favorite animals.
Beitsch’s daughters enjoy rocking aboard their favorite animals.

“People around the block will come just to play on them,” the 11-year-old said.

Each rocker is cemented into the ground — about 30 inches deep, Beitsch said.

And what makes this front yard so special is that present-day playgrounds don’t typically feature similar silver rockers anymore, Beitsch said. That’s why so many older passersby stop for a minute to play or take pictures.

He added that Halloween is an especially fun time because of the amount of children walking around the neighborhood.

“I’d see high school kids on them,” he said with a laugh. “[Even] adults on them.”

While Beitsch and his family have only been at their current home for less than a year, he said he doesn’t plan on adding any more playground equipment.

This story appears in the July edition of Park Cities People, on stands now.

One thought on “Corner Lot Becomes a Playground

  • July 14, 2014 at 9:31 am
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    This is great. Great sense of community.

    Why does the City always think of code violations as the very first thing when something good happens in HP? Seems like we live in less freedom each passing year. Let people live.

    Reply

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