Joseph F. Moore Park as seen from above in the
autumn of 2014.
Joseph F. Moore Park, which
celebrated it's 80th anniversary in August 2019, is a Pittsburgh city recreation facility located at 1801 Pioneer Avenue in
Brookline. Established in 1939 and officially opened to the public in 1940, it's many
fine attractions include an olympic sized swimming pool, three lighted tennis courts,
and a children's playground with spray fountain and splash pond.
At the time of the dedication, the park also
included an outdoor basketball court, whiffle ball court, a regulation-sized lighted
baseball field and a smaller ballfield and a multi-purpose bath house/meeting hall.
Most of the original features are still in operation after eight decades.
♦ Moore Park Photo Gallery ♦
Today, Moore Park is one of
several municipal recreation areas nestled in the hills
around Pittsburgh, and the oldest of the two city parks here in Brookline.
The swimming pool and baseball field are two of the
main highlights at Moore Park.
The playground at Moore Park has several
attractions to keep Brookline children active and entertained.
The Community Gathering Place
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
Linda Dimitroff cools off in the water fountain
in 1958 (left) and Brookline Youth Soccer practice in the Fall of 1999.
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.
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
Today, the fields are still used 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.
Changes Over The Years
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.
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
The refurbished tennis courts at Moore
Park, shown here in August 2014.
The refurbished basketball courts and the new
pickleball courts at Moore Park in the Fall of 2018.
In 2018, with help from Councilman Anthony
Coghill, the basketball courts were resurfaced and new lighting installed. The wiffle
ball area was converted into pickleball courts while much of the rusted fencing
seperating the playground from the small ballfield below was removed. Besides these
changes, the general park appearance has remained pretty much the same since the day
it was dedicated eight decades ago.
During the 2020 pandemic, while the pool sat
idle for a summer, some serious structural and mechanical problems were discovered.
The aging aging filtration and drainage system had broken and damaged the foundation.
These issues were found to be the source of a growing pool of water on the lower
Repair and reconstruction of the swimming pool
under progress on April 27, 2021.
Construction crews are busy repairing or replacing
sections of the pool from the cement foundation up, installing all new gutters, piping
and mechanical equipment. The entire pool will be refaced and relined. When the $900,000
project is complete Moore Park will, essentially, have a brand new swimming pool. The
estimated completion date is July 4, 2021.
Professor Moore's Dream - A Safe 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
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.
The boys and girls have always enjoyed the
merry-go-round, shown here in August 1978 along with the old monkey bars.
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.
Construction of a
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.
The baseball field along Pioneer Avenue in
April 1933. A playground would soon be constructed next to the field.
Thomas Hester Park
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.
Miss Lillian Harley, of 374 LaMarido Street,
signing a petition being circulated
by Ruth Easton, Marie Nardie and Johanna Helferty - April 1933.
Another person who was influential in the
creation of the park was former baseball coach and wealthy landowner Samuel Easton.
Easton and his wife circulated petitions throughout the community gathering signatures
to be presented before City Council. The Easton's got the local schools involved and
their efforts undoubtedly helped in the overall effort.
Joseph F. Moore
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.
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
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.
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
Preliminary clearing of the land designated
for construction of Moore Park in July 1934.
What's in a Name?
In the meantime there was another try
at a name grab for the new park. By 1935 almost everyone was satisfied with
calling the new park, like the playground, after Professor Joseph Moore. But
there were still others who sought desperately to attach their name to the
That spring petitions were passed around
the community with the purpose of naming the new park after Samuel Easton, the
man who helped rally support for the park effort a couple years earlier. Easton's
petition, which contained several suspicious names, drew the ire of many local
residents. When the petitions came before City Council on May 9, 1935, they were
immediately dismissed as fraudulent.
Now that the naming rights were established,
work on the park proceeded until, in 1938, the federal Works Progress Administration
became involved and brought along with it a large influx of grant 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
Moore Park under construction in October 1939.
in the foreground is the pool area and bath house steel frame.
of Moore Park Under Construction * 1939-1940>
Finally, on August 9, 1940, the dreams of
Professor Moore became reality when Mayor Cornelius Scully came to Brookline to dedicate
the completed park complex. Rather than being christened "Thomas Hester Park," as
envisioned a decade earlier by the Boosters Association, or "Samuel Easton Park," the
new Brookline park was aptly named "Joseph F. Moore Park," in honor of the man who
worked so hard to see that there was a safe place for the kids to play.
Moore Park An Instant Success
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.
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
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.
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.
The Brookline Recreation Center hosted
a Flag Football League at Moore Park during the fall of 2005 and 2006.
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
St. Justin High School Football * 1942
Moore Park Pool * 1946
The Zentgraf Family Swimmers * 1945-1957
Pittsburgh '100' Champions * 1949-1951, 1957-59, 1962
Resurrection Football - 1951
Resurrection Football - 1952
Moore Park Swim Meet * 1953
Resurrection Football - 1953
Resurrection Football - 1954
Moore Park Fountain * 1958
Moore Park - July 4, 1960
Brookline Royals * 1960
Pittsburgh Newells * 1961
South Hills Catholic Baseball * 1963
Brookline Junior Royals * 1964
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
St. Pius X Football - 1974
St. Pius X Football - 1978
St. Pius X Football - 1980
St. Pius X Football - 1981
St. Pius X Football - 1983
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
Swimming Pool Reconstruction - 2021
♦ 6:03 Minute Video of 1970s-era Football
Game at Moore Field ♦
(St. Catherines vs Our Lady of
Football practice on the big field at
Moore Park in the fall of 1961.
Generations of life guards kept swimmers safe
and the pump swings were a playground favorite. Both photos - 1969.
Kids play in the wading pool, with the spray
fountains, in the early-1950s.
The South Hills High School girl's softball team
(left) and kids having fun on the playground, a rite of passage.
The Citiparks Field Day Games awards presentation
- August 14, 2019.
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 nine-inning game on the
big field for Brookline's 1976 Senior League All-Stars. It seems as if everyone who has lived in the
community has some fond remembrance of Moore Park.
One thing, however, that only the old-timers
would recall, is when Art Rooney and his new professional football team, the Pittsburgh
Pirates, held their training camp at Moore Park. Although the park itself was not
officially christened until 1939, the city of Pittsburgh owned the land. From 1933
to 1936, the city allowed the team to hold their summer camps 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. In 1940, the team changed their name to
the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Former Park Director
Chuck Senft - Moore Park Boxing Club
Until 1971, Moore Park had its own
Recreation Director, and beginning in 1957 the director was none other than
legendary boxing coach Chuck Senft. His Moore Park Boxing Club became a perennial leader in the Golden
and Silver Glove competitions.
When Chuck moved to the new Brookline
Recreation Center in May 1971, the club moved along with him. The boxers may
have been the same, but the club name was changed to the Brookline Boxing Club,
known locally as "Charlie's Angels.".
The club continued the Moore Park Boxing
tradition as one of the finest boxing programs in the Commonwealth. Chuck Senft's
career as Brookline Community Recreation Director spanned a total of forty-seven
years, until his retirement in 2003.
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
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.
A large crowd at Moore Park swimming pool
in the summer of 1949, with Mary Agnes Walsh front and center.
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:
May 15, 2021 *
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 1960s. These distinguished park
alumni, along with Tony Guarino,
have started their own facebook group. Join them at Moore Park University (MPU).