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Rollersnake: 1922

Rollersnake: 1922

September 26, 1922. Washington, D.C. "Virginia Avenue playgrounds." Equipped with a skate pit. National Photo Company glass negative. View full size.


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Locus delicti

The view here is toward the southeast. Note gasometer in the distance (at 12th/M gasworks); intersection of 10th & L SE is in background at right-center. The two white frame houses visible on 10th St. are still standing.

Skate Oil

I remember having a small tin of oil for dirty wheels. Also, we used to play "Crack the Whip" running. I was so proud of the scabs on my knees.

Crack the Whip

If I remember correctly, the leader would get his or her "snake" up to speed, then make a sharp turn to try to throw off some of the rear skaters. Fond memories of great fun - thanks Shorpy!

Still a park

According to the 1916 Annual Report of the District's Department of Playgrounds, the Virginia Avenue Playgrounds were near Virginia Ave. and 9th and 10th Streets SE (just northeast of the Navy Yard). Although it's bounded on the north by I-695 and a CSX line, the site continues to be a neighborhood park, including community gardens and a dog park.


Looks like all the kids either have skates or wish they had a pair. Slippery steel wheels and all. Only one kid playing on the chin up bar.

These type of skates are the reason skate keys, which most of us kids had at least one, were made.

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