Joseph F. Moore Park
(established 1939)

Moore Tennis Courts - November 2014.

<View Some Photos of Moore Park From The Days of Old>

Joseph F. Moore Park, which celebrates it's 80th anniversary in 2019, is a Pittsburgh city park located off of Pioneer Avenue in Brookline. Moore Park was established in 1939 and officially opened to the public in 1940. It's many fine attractions include an olympic sized swimming pool, a water slide, three lighted tennis courts, and a children's playground.

At the time of the dedication, the park also includee an outdoor basketball court, whiffle ball court, a regulation-sized lighted baseball field and a smaller ballfield, an outside splash pool with a water fountain and a multi-purpose bath house. Today, it's one of several community parks nestled in the hills around Pittsburgh, and the oldest of the two parks here in Brookline.

The fountain near the children's
playground at Moore Park - 1958    Brookline Youth Soccer Association
Opening Day Photo - Fall 1999.
Linda Dimitroff cools off in the water fountain in 1958 (left) and Brookline Youth Soccer practice in the Fall of 1999.

Moore Park 1954    Moore Park 1954.
Carol Gogarty with her mom (left) and older sister on the slide in the Summer of 1954. The children's playground,
with it's many attractions, has always been a nice place for parents to relax while the kids run about having fun.

For many years now, Moore Park has been one of the community's landmark gathering places. In the summertime, the pool is full of swimmers and the playground buzzing with children and their parents. The ballfields were used by local baseball, football and softball leagues. Today, the fields are still used extensively by the Brookline Little League, the Brookline Youth Soccer Association and several men's softball teams. Many older Brookliners remember the community festival and firework displays, held each Independence Day, on the lower field, from 1940 through the mid-1960s.

Wiffleball has always been a fun
 pasttime on the courts at Moore Park.
 This picture, from 1969, shows Charlie
 Marratto taking his best cut.    July 4, 1952. The Brookline Little League
played in its first ever all-star game
and beat Bethel Park, 5-4, at Moore Park.
Charlie Marratto takes a cut on the wiffle ball court in 1969 (left) and the regulation sized baseball field on the lower
level, shown in 1952, hosted Brookline Little League games and the Independence Day fireworks in years gone by.
Many other sporting and civic events have been held here over the years. The field is still heavily used today.

The swimming pool at Moore Park - 1969.    The swimming pool at Moore Park - 1969.
The swimming pool at Moore Park has been the summer highlight every year since it opened on August 9, 1940. Shown
here in 1969, several generations of Brookliners spent their hot summer days at the olympic-sized pool.

Moore Park has seen many upgrades over the years. The pool, which used to have three diving boards (one high and two low) and descended to sixteen feet at its deepest, has been modified. It now sports a water slide instead of the diving boards, and it no longer is as deep as in the past, going to just six feet in the deep end.

The building is no longer used as a bath house. In the late-1990s the large ground floor hall was converted into a computer lab, with air conditioning. After a few years the lab was removed and the room modified for use as a community meeting place. It is now a popular place for birthdays and other family events, as well a lunch room for the Citiparks summer food program.

  
Moore Park in the early-1970s. Women's softball practice (left) and just hanging around near the playground.

  

Also during the 1990s, the playground was upgraded to include new child-safe features and additional parking was added near the lower field to accomodate the large crowds for sporting events. In 1999, City Councilman Michael Diven dedicated a new pavilion on the walkway beside the swimming pool.

Moore Tennis Courts - August 2014.
The refurbished tennis courts at Moore Park, shown here in August 2014.

The three tennis courts were rebuilt and the playground area was resurfaced in 2012, along with the installation of new lighting on the courts and lower baseball field. With the help of Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak, the railings were painted and cement work was done on the crumbling sidewalks in 2015.

Then, in 2018, with help from Councilman Anthony Coghill, the basketball courts were resurfaced and new lighting was installed. The wiffle ball area was converted into two pickleball courts and much of the rusted fencing seperating the playground from the small ballfield below was removed. Other than these changes, the general park appearance has remained pretty much the same since the day it was dedicated eight decades ago.

The basketball court at Moore Park - 2018    The Pickleball Courts at Moore Park - 2018.
The refurbished basketball courts and the new pickleball courts at Moore Park in the Fall of 2018.

Up until 1970, Moore Park had its own Recreation Director. From 1957 until 1970 the director was none other than legendary Brookline boxing coach Chuck Senft. Moore Park was the original home of the Brookline Boxing Club, known locally as "Charlie's Angels.".

Over the years, the club built a reputation as one of the finest boxing programs in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. When the Brookline Recreation Center in Brookline Memorial Park opened in 1971, Chuck and his Angels moved into the new facility. Chuck's career as Brookline's Recreation Director spanned forty-seven years, from 1957 to 2003.

The swimming pool at Moore Park - 1998.    The baseball field at Moore Park - 1998.
The swimming pool and baseball field are two of the main highlights at Moore Park.

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Professor Moore's Dream - A Place For Kids To Play

Moore Park was built as part of a national and city-wide effort to create public recreation facilities for urban neighborhoods with funding and cooperation of the federal Works Progress Administration. Moore Park has its roots in efforts begun by the principal of the West Liberty School District, Joseph F. Moore to provide safe playground space for children in the Brookline neighborhood. Professor Moore was an ardent advocate that playgrounds were the best answer to the problem of juvenile delinquency.

Since 1911, when Moore first began efforts to spur the city to purchase space near Brookline School for playground use, his vision began to take shape. It took slightly over a decade for the city to act, so in the meantime, a small playground was built on vacant leased lots on land bordering Rossmore, Pioneer, Gallion and Wedgemere Avenues, next to a public baseball field and the Brookline School garden.

That playground was lost in 1920, when the Willison Place Plan of homes was built on those lots. It was then that the city finally purchased the land bordering Brookline School. That first official playground opened in 1923, but lasted only six years until the land was needed for an expansion of the school building. In 1930, the Joint Civic Committee of Brookline, of which Professor Moore was a member, began working on several community improvements, including a permanent playground and park.

The playground at Moore Park - 1998    The playground at Moore Park - 1998.
The playground at Moore Park has several attractions to keep Brookline children active and entertained.

The process of establishing a park along Pioneer Avenue at the present location began in May 1918, when the city passed an ordinance to lease twenty-two acres of land from Elizabeth Paul for the future creation of a large playground, with the right to sublet a house and four acres of land. Those four acres were used as a golf driving range for several years, but no further action was taken towards the construction of a park.

The decade of the 1930s saw many civic improvements in the community infrastructure and the addition of a Carnegie Library. In 1931, ten of the acres leased in 1918, including the driving range, were earmarked for use as a park in the name of the Brookline Boosters Association. A baseball field was immediately erected on the grounds near Pioneer Avenue. Planning then began on the installation of a permanent playground.

A baseball field stands at the location that will,
six years later, be the entrance to Moore Park - 04/13/33.
The baseball field along Pioneer Avenue in April 1933. A playground would soon be constructed next to the field.

On August 5, 1931, the Pittsburgh Press published a short clip stating that Councilman Alderdice and William J. Soost, a Council candidate, addressed members of the Brookline Boosters Association at the German Beneficial Hall on the boulevard. At the meeting, Councilman Alderdice announced that he would sponsor a resolution to name the new playground and park after Thomas Hester, the president of the Brookline Boosters Association.

It took two years before the playground was constructed. Finally, on September 16, 1933, the community of Brookline got what it had been patiently awaiting for more than two decades when the new children's playground was dedicated. However, rather than naming it after Thomas Hester, the new park was named after the man who had been dreaming and fighting for it all those many years, Joseph F. Moore.

Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Moore at the
dedication of Moore Playground - 09/16/33.
Joseph Moore (right) and his wife Ida at the dedication of Moore Playground on September 16, 1933.
Standing to the left is Peter S. Space, president of the Brookline Savings and Trust Company.

Work on the larger park complex began slowly and proceeded in small steps over the next few years. Preliminary work was done in July of 1934 to clear and grade the land. The utility infrastructure, electric and water lines was installed in 1936 and tennis courts were constructed the following year, although fencing and nets were not yet installed. By December of 1937, a total of $146,000 had been spent on park construction, but the results were unsatisfactory mainly due to the piecemeal nature in the allocation of funding.

Preliminary work being done to clear
the land for Moore Park - 1934.    Preliminary work being done to clear
the land for Moore Park - 1934.
Preliminary clearing of the land designated for construction of Moore Park in July 1934.

In the meantime there was another try at a name grab for the new park. By 1935 most everyone was satisfied with calling the new park after Professor Joseph Moore. However, that spring a petition was passed around the community with the purpose of forcing the park to be named after Samuel Easton, a former coach and wealthy property owner. Easton's petition, which contained several suspicious names, drew the ire of many residents and when his petitions came before City Council on May 9, 1935, they were immediately dismissed as fraudulent.

Then, in 1938, the Works Progress Administration became involved and brought along with it a large influx of federal money and resources, enabling the project to proceed at a much more rapid, consistent and logical pace. From then on, construction of the entire ten-acre park facility took just two years to complete.

Moore Park under construction - October 1939
Moore Park under construction in October 1939. in the foreground is the pool area and bath house steel frame.

<Photos of Moore Park Under Construction * 1939-1940>

Moore Park Construction Marker

Photo from the Pittsburgh Press - Aug 9, 1940.

Finally, on August 9, 1940, the dreams of Professor Moore became reality when Mayor Cornelius Scully dedicated the completed Brookline community park complex. Rather than "Hester Park," as envisioned a decade earlier, or "Easton Park," the new Brookline park was aptly christened "Joseph F. Moore Park," in honor of the man who worked so hard to see that the children of Brookline had a safe place in which to play.

Moore Park was an instant success. The pool attracted 19,434 visitors during it's first week, with a peak day of 5,000 swimmers! In 1942, Moore Pool recorded 209,448 visitors, the highest total of all twenty-three city pools, which all together drew 1.25 million patrons.

The swimming pool at
 Moore Park - Summer 1949
A large crowd at Moore Park swimming pool in the summer of 1949, with Mary Agnes Walsh front and center.

Since then, attendance at the pool and playground continued to increase, peaking in the mid-1950s, when the crowded conditions eased slightly with the growing popularity of the Brookline Community Center Park, built two miles away in East Brookline. The pool, however, continued to draw huge crowds until the early 1980s, when the Community Center pool opened.

A final annecdote on the creation of Moore Park. In December 1940, 58 1/2 acres of land adjoining Moore Park was acquired by the city from the Hampton Hill Improvement Company, which acquired the remaining 108 1/2 acres of the vast Elizabeth Paul estate. This agreement was in lieu of back taxes and with the provision that the acquired acres be for Parks and Recreation purposes and the remaining 50 acres be developed into an apartment complex (Southcrest Court) and the homes on LaRose Street, Linda, Southcrest and Northcrest Drives.

The 58 1/2 acres acquired for the park, which consist mostly of wooded land and ravines stretching west towards Timberland Avenue, have remained undeveloped every since. A proposition was forwarded in 2001 to use fill from Port Authority construction to enlarge the park beyond the lower baseball field and install another multi-purpose field, but that never went beyond the planning stages. That wooded area is now designated as a greenway.

Brookline Flag Football - Fall 2005.
The Brookline Recreation Center hosted a Flag Football League at Moore Park during the fall of 2005 and 2006.

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Photos of Moore Park Over the Years

The Paul Farm * 1910
Recollections of Joseph F. Moore
Bob O Link Golf Driving Range * 1930
Thomas Hester Park * 1931
Moore Baseball Field * 1933
Samuel Easton Park * 1935
Moore Park Construction * 1939-1940
Brookline Merchants * 1940
USO Benefit Football Game * 1942
Moore Park Pool * 1946
Moore Park Swim Meet * 1953
Moore Park Fountain * 1958
Brookline Royals * 1960
Pittsburgh Newells * 1961
South Hills Catholic Baseball * 1963
Brookline Junior Royals * 1964

Two kids on the merry-go-round - 1967
Youngsters on the Merry-Go-Round in 1967.

South Hills Catholic Baseball * 1965
Brookline Royals * 1967-1971
Maury Wills Baseball Camp * July 17, 1968
Pushball Championship * July 26, 1968
Connie Hawkins Basketball Camp * Summer 1969
Punt, Pass and Kick * Fall 1969
Pick-Up Football Game * Fall 1969
Diocesan Men's Softball * 1971
Moore Park Aerials * 1985
New Pavilion * Fall 1999
Moore Park in the Fall * 2004
Brookline Flag Football * 2005-2006
Moore Pool * Summer 2008
Citiparks Field Day Champions * 2019
80th Anniversary Celebration - Summer 2019

For most of us, Moore Pool was
synonymous with swimming when we
were growing up. Every generation
had its own group of pool guards.
This young lady kept the swimmers
in check during the Summer of '69    Back in the 1960s the
playground had the newest
model of the old pump swings.
Generations of life guards kept swimmers safe and the pump swings were a playground favorite. Both photos - 1969.

The wading pool and fountains
at Moore Park - (circa 1950s)
Kids play in the wading pool, with the spray fountains, in the early-1950s.

South Hills High School Girls Softball    Playground activity.
The South Hills High School girl's softball team (left) and kids having fun on the playground, a rite of passage.

Citiparks Field Day Games - 2019
The Citiparks Field Day Games awards presentation - August 14, 2019.

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Moore Park Memories

Brookliners past and present have many memories of Moore Park. Many speak of the Independence Day Festivals and the fireworks that were held on the lower field, with the fading embers descending upon a packed crowd lining the steps. During World War II, a USO benefit football game drew a remarkable crowd of 10,000 spectators.

For others, it was playing in the playground and frollicking in the wading pool as young children. As for myself, it was swimming on summer days as a young teen and pitching a game for the 1976 Senior League All-Stars. It seems as if everyone who has lived in Brookline has some fond remembrance of Moore Park.

1940-1942, 1945-1953

One thing, however, that only the old-timers would recall, is when Art Rooney and his Pittsburgh Steelers held their training camp at Moore Park. Although the park itself was not officially christened until 1939, the city of Pittsburgh owned the land and, from 1933 to 1936, the Steelers held their summer camp on the leveled expanse that was once part of the Bob O Link golf driving range.

In 1937 the team relocated to a new facility at St. Francis College in Loretto, PA. After a few more moves the Steelers found a permanent summer home at St. Vincent's College in Latrobe. It's just another of the fun facts that make up eight decades of Moore Park history.

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The swimming pool at
 Moore Park - Summer 1943
This Press photo from June 15, 1943 shows guard Eleanor McClain at Moore Pool whistling caution to a swimmer.
This was the first year that female guards were assigned to work at city pools.

The swimming pool at
 Moore Park - Summer 1946
Moore Park swimming pool in the summer of 1946, complete with high and low diving boards. There are very few
trees growing along the fence, and note the diver in a tuck position off the high board.

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If you have any old photos of Moore Park that you would like to share with us,
please notify us via our
guestbook, located on the Brookline History homepage,
or send us a message on the
Brookline Connection facebook page.

* Last Modified: March 27, 2019 *

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The Bleacher Creatures

  
They call themselves the Moore Park Bleacher Creatures, shown here in 2018. Their often infamous and historically
dubious exploits date back to the 1970s. These distinguished park alumni, along with Tony Guarino,
have started their own facebook group. Join them at
Moore Park University (MPU).

CitiParks Information <> <Brookline History>