Moore Park Construction - 1939/1940
The photo above shows the entrance to the park, adjacent to Pioneer Avenue. The driveway has been laid and the new tennis courts are in place. Grading is being done in the area to the right, where the playground will be located. Construction of the bath house and pool will soon begin.
Construction of Joseph F. Moore Park began in the early fall of 1939, after many years of planning. The new park was part of a city-wide drive to build recreation centers throughout the Pittsburgh area. The park was built by the Works Progress Administration, one of President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal initiatives. The WPA was responsible for the construction of several parks in the Pittsburgh area.
By October 31, 1939 work is now moving at a fast pace. The bath house frame is being erected and the outline of the swimming pool is taking shape. The playground is in place in the background and the small upper baseball field has been leveled and looks ready for its coating of top soil.
By January 9, 1940 work had progressed on the pool to the point where the wall forms were being put in place for pouring cement in the spring. The filtration piping has been installed and will soon be buried from view. The rocky hillside provided a solid foundation for the pool, but provided a challenge for the steam shovel and bulldozer operators.
By the end of spring construction is moving at a fast pace. This photo, taken on June 3, shows that the bath house has taken shape, with a small third level still to be added, and work on the pool is progressing. Workers are busy installing the steel reinforcing bars for the wall supporting the steps. In the upper left you can see the old West Liberty School, built in 1898, standing atop Pioneer Avenue.
By July 3, 1940, the outline of the bath house is complete and the windows are being installed. The pool is nearing completion. Workers are busy laying the cement bottom, here working on the slope leading to the deep end, which dipped to sixteen feet.
By August 2 work on the park itself is almost complete. The baseball fields beyond the building and the tennis courts to the left are ready for use. Soon the playground on the right will have equipment installed. The bath house and pool are almost complete. The grand opening of the swimming pool was held on August 9, 1940.
The park was an instant success. By the spring of 1941, Moore Park was the place to be in Brookline. The park was host to many community gatherings and the pool became as oasis for residents looking to beat the summer heat. The olympic-sized pool, and the park itself, has remained one of the community's #1 attractions for over seventy years.
For many years (into the 1990s), the third floor of the bath house, or recreation building, was the full-time home of a park custodian. For two decades, Independance Day fireworks were held on the lower field, with the fading embers descending upon a packed crowd lining the steps. From 1957 until 1971, the bath house was the home of the Moore Park Boxing Club, the nationally recognized club run by long-time director Chuck Senft. These are memories that many folks remember fondly, and they make up a large part of Moore Park's storied past.
One thing, however, that only the old-timers might recall, is that Art Rooney and his Pittsburgh Steelers once used the ball field for pre-season workouts. Back in the mid-1930s it was a common site to see the Chief and his players and coaches milling about the park in August working out the kinks and going through their drills. It's just another of the fun facts that make up eighty years of Moore Park history.
* Photos provided by Mike Radley and Dr. Michael Brendel *
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