The Brookline Memorial Park Renaissance

Brookline Memorial Park - March 2014.

The Evolution Of Brookline Memorial Park (1947-Present)

<Additional Links and Photo Illustrations>

Brookline Park, as seen today, is a beautifully sculptured recreational facility consisting of four ballfields, a multi-purpose recreation building, and outdoor basketball court and DEK Hockey rink, children's playground, picnic pavilion and much more. As the march of time goes on, it becomes ever more difficult to remember how this land once looked in the early 1900s, and how it has continually evolved over the years.

Here in the present day, the Brookline community has a first-class park that serves the population in a variety of ways, but only a short time ago things were much different. There were wooded hills, open fields, a larve ravine, dense forest, and a dirt road lined with aging fruit trees that led to an old farmhouse.

Brookline Memorial Park - 2010.
Brookline Park, shown in 2010, covers nearly sixty acres, including a 22-acre developed park and a 38-acre greenway.

How did this unnavigable patch of wooded farm land become the annual gathering place that Brookliners utilize today? The evolution of Brookline Memorial Community Center Park provides an interesting look back at the development of not only the park itself, but the growth of the Brookline community.

The Anderson Farm

Dating back to the dawn of the 19th century, the area that is now Brookline Memorial Park was mainly rural farmland. The land was originally deeded in 1787 to Joseph McDowell and David Kennedy. It passed to the Hayes estate, which farmed and mined the land. In 1875, the the Anderson Family purchased twenty-two acres of Hayes property, between Brookline Boulevard and Breining Street.

The Anderson Farm - 1936
The Anderson Farm began operation in 1875. The land was sold in 1947.

In 1895, James Anderson built a large, stately home on the hillside below Breining. The farm operated as a family business for nearly seventy years, supplying much of the fresh produce and fruit for local merchants. As the community of Brookline evolved around them, several generations of Anderson's continued to cultivate their little corner of the neighborhood. By the 1930s, most of the other large tracts of real estate had been sold to developers. Only the Anderson Farm remained as a reminder of Brookline's rural heritage.

Brookline Development

Prior to the 1900s, Brookline consisted mostly of sunny farms and wooded hillsides. Streams and brooks criss-crossed the landscape. The main roads were sparsely populated with homes and merchants. The area was then part of rural St. Clair Township, known officially as West Liberty Borough. Despite the close proximity to the city of Pittsburgh, the South Hills was cut off geographically from the urban population. The hilly nature of the terrain kept it isolated from the region's industrial center.

The Trolley Tunnel at the South
Hills Junction, built in 1904.
The Mount Washington Transit Tunnel, built in 1904.

The construction of the Mount Washington Transit Tunnel through the heart of Coal Hill was the catalyst that brought real change to the South Hills. Streetcar service was established in Brookline. With a direct link to the city, travel times were slashed and the urban population began to migrate south.

Annexed into the city of Pittsburgh in 1908, Brookline development began to boom. Subsequent improvements in the streetcar service made Brookline a popular place to live. The Liberty Tunnels, opened in 1924, were the next big transportation improvement that spurred local development. By 1930, the landscape of Brookline had evolved into a sprawling residential community, a process that continued well into the 1950s.

Early Recreational Facilities In Brookline

The first playground that Brookline ever had was located between Berkshire and Woodbourne Avenues, below Castlegate Avenue. Later, three more playgrounds were established. They were located between Gallion and Rossmore Avenues, Fordham and Norwich Avenues, and at the corner of Aidly and Pioneer Avenues. The residents were permitted to use these plots for playgrounds through the kindness of the owners.

There was also a field between Whited Street and Milan Avenue (where the current Roswin Drive homes are located) that used to be a recreation park in the summer for the kids. There was a big sand box, swings and slides, as well as volley ball, with teachers in attendance to monitor the activities. Eventually these plots of land were sold and the kids were left without any space to play.

Brookline Elementary School - 1919
A model of Brookline Elementary in 1919 showing a proposed playground.

At Brookline School, the adjacent ground was leased from the Knowlson family in 1919 and then purchased outright by the school district in 1923. This land was to be used as a playground, but in 1929 much of this property was used for a much-needed school expansion. Because of this, Professor Joseph F. Moore, in order to further the recreational activities of the youth in the Brookline district, and as chairman of the Playground Committee of the Brookline Board of Trade, acquired a ten acre plot along Pioneer Avenue for the sole purpose of being developed into a community park.

Moore Park under construction - 1940
Moore Park swimming pool and bath house under construction in June 1940.

The project, which was approved by the city, stalled during the Depression years. Then, in 1939, with the assistance of the Works Project Administration, this dream became a reality. The Council of the City of Pittsburgh passed an ordinance which acquired and developed this land as a playground which is now known as the Moore Recreation Center. The new park opened in August 1940 and was named in honor of Professor Moore, the man who worked so hard to bring a permanent recreation facility to the community of Brookline.

As the years passed and the community of Brookline continued to grow and develop, the need for further recreational facilities arose.

The Brookline Memorial Community Center Association

The Brookline Memorial Community Center, or the seeds of what exists today, were sowed in the mid-war years. The Brookline Kiwanis Club opened a teenage canteen for dancing and other limited activities. This was a temporary measure. The club researched better ideas for providing a suitable recreational facility for the community. It was decided to construct a recreation building ... but where, and how?

The Community Center Committee was formed in early 1945. It consisted of members from all of the local Civic and Church organizations, and of residents from around the area. A mass meeting was held in September 1945, at Brookline Elementary School. The idea of building a new recreation building was approved. The Brookline Memorial Community Center Association was chartered, with John L. Boyle as President and Louis Beinhauer as Vice-President.

An aerial view of the Anderson Farm in 1939.
Eight years later the land was sold to the
community and became Brookline Memorial Park.
An aerial view of the Anderson Farm in 1939.

The Association immediately went to work investigating possible locations, and obtaining financing. In February 1946 it was announced that a fundraising drive was underway to build the park, a pool, a community building and a stadium. The goal was to collect $120,000.

Some creative ideas were presented to raise the desired capital. One was a "$30-Easy-Pay" plan wherein every Brookline family would pledge to contribute thirty dollars. The plan would meet the overall goal in one campaign. A house-to house drive was scheduled to begin in March. This pledge would be payable with $5 down and the remainder over a period of thirty months.

Another idea was a "Mile of Pennies" drive for the community's 2400 school children. Banks would be placed on the front desk of each classroom in the nearby elementary schools. Classes would compete to travel the greatest distance "in pennies." This campaign was expected to raise over $800.

The new Brookline Community Center
 as envisioned in February 1946
This image of the proposed new park first appeared in
the Pittsburgh Press on February 17, 1946.

As of February 17, 1946, civic and business groups had already contributed $4000. Initial donations of $500 were made by the Kiwanis Club, Brookline Business Mens Association and the Resurrection Holy Name Society. Every business on Brookline Boulevard also contributed $100 each.

Also in February that year, it was discovered that the 22-acre Anderson Farm was being placed on the market. Two acres on the extreme northerly section of the original Anderson property had already been purchased by the Pittsburgh and Birmingham Traction Company in 1910 for use as a trolley loop.

Twenty-acres remained. A plot of land this size, within the confines of a major city, was becoming a rarity, and with it's location virtually in the geographic center of the Brookline/Overbrook area, the site was a perfect choice. A buy option was immediately placed on the property by the Community Center Association.

The Anderson Farm was
 purchased in May 1947
The Brookline Memorial Community Center Association
purchased the Anderson Farm in May 1947.

The farm was purchased in May of 1947 for $19,000 dollars, with all arrangements handled by Paul N. Smith, a local realtor, at no charge. Eighth grade students from around the area canvassed the community for pledges, and Brookline residents were eager to help. The necessary funding was procured, and Brookline Memorial Community Center Park was born. However, through years of neglect, the landscape was in a state of disrepair. A large ravine dominated the northern section of the property and the remainder was overgrown with dense brush.

The Community Gets Down To Work

Much work needed to be done to make the land suitable for use as a recreational area. The Association's charter stated that its purpose was to "develop the park for outdoor recreation, and provide picnic sites and playground facilities, and to preserve a country-like atmosphere within the city limits." The Community Center Association went to work fast. With volunteer help and further financing from residents and businesses, the park's evolution began.

The new Brookline Community Center
 as envisioned in May 1947
Proposed Brookline Memorial Community Center Park Design - May 1947.

The first order of business was to draw up a plan for how to develop the land. Much thought went into this design. An artist's conception of the future Brookline Memorial Community Center Park that appeared in May of 1947 envisioned a baseball field, football field, large swimming pool, croquet courts, ski tower and toboggan trail, tennis courts, picnic groves, outdoor amphitheatre and a recreation building. It was a grand plan.

Flag Raising and Dedication of
Brookline Memorial Community Center Park

The flag raising and dedication of the park was held on June 29, 1947 at the old Anderson home, now serving as a temporary recreation center. The park was dedicated to all of the local citizens who served in World War II. It was christened in memory of those who never returned. After the dedication, the hard work began.

Flag Raising and Dedication of
Brookline Memorial Community Center
Park on June 29, 1947.
A soldier, sailor and Marine salute as the flag is raised in ceremonies
dedicating Brookline's new community center - PG Photo.

Tragedy Strikes

Once the park opened, one man took a lead role in taking on the task of transforming the old farm into a family park. Bernard "Barney" Diehl oversaw much of the initial excavation, leveling and dumping of landfill. A resident of Breining Street, Diehl worked tirelessly to construct the playground, and was beginning work on the old Anderson farmhouse.

On September 27, 1951, while laying a concrete foundation for an enlarged porch, Barney Diehl was stricken with a heart attack and passed away on the scene.

The Brookline Little League

When first purchased, the farm land was sloped. Extensive excavating and grading was necessary. With volunteer help from men like Barney Diehl and Sam Bryen , tons of donated landfill and back-breaking labor, an area was cleared on the lower plateau large enough for a parking area, two baseball fields and a concession stand. The Little League field was built in time for the 1952 season. Major League style dugouts were added in 1955. The Pony League field, with the help of Morris Grummet and the entire Brookline community, was ready by the 1962 season.

Community Center Field - 1956
The Community Center Little League field in 1956.

The year 1959 was a big year for the fledgling Brookline Little League Association and the Brookline Community Center. That was the season that Brookline hosted the Pennsylvania Little League State Finals. Improvements were made to the baseball field and thousands of visitors from across the state came to watch the games. Brookline Park had hit the bigtime.

Capacity crowd witnesses finals
 - Aug 15, 1959
The Community Center was filled to capacity for the state finals.

While the Little League complex dominated the lower plateau, the upper section of Brookline Memorial Community Center Park consisted of a large open field surrounded by thick woods. A large open space was excavated from the hillside. This plateau was envisioned to include an ice-skating rink, basketball courts, tennis courts, playground equipment, picnic areas, and a modern recreation building.

The Recreation Center Building

By 1962, work on the ballfields was completed. Preparations now began on the construction of a Community Center Recreation Building. The structure would be built next to the old Anderson farmhouse, which served for over a decade as a temporary Recreation Center.

Construction of old Recreation Center - 1962.
Construction of the original Recreation Center - 1962.

Construction of the new building began with volunteer help, supervised by R. H. Eberhart, and financed with local contributions. When the first phase of the project was completed, the building was just a one floor, 20' by 53' concrete block structure.

Picture of artists conception of new recreation center for upper
 level, 1962.
Artist's conception of the new Recreation Center - 1962.

This was to be the foundation of a much larger structure, which would be built into the hillside and be large enough to house receptions and other large-scale activities. Due to a lack of finances, phase two of the project never began.

A Beehive Of Activity

In the mid-1960's, the Community Center became a beehive of activity. While efforts were made to obtain further financing and materials to proceed with the second phase of building construction, the partially completed Recreation Center was extensively used. Basketball courts were built outside the structure. The courts doubled as an ice-skating rink in the winter.

Ice skating rink at Community Center - 1964.
Ice Skating at the Recreation Center - January 1964.

Many local civic groups used the building and surrounding picnic area for summer activities. The Women's Civic Club hosted Day Camps for the kids, and carnivals were held yearly, beginning in 1954, attracting young and old alike. The Brookline Little League participation had grown to over 400 kids. In July 1965, a large parade preceded the carnival. The event focused on the new building. Enthusiasm was high. The hard work and dedication of the Brookline Memorial Community Center Association was beginning to pay off.

Community Center Carnival - July 1965.
Fund-raising carnival in the Summer of 1965.

An Unprecedented Move

Despite the generosity of the entire neighborhood, the financial burden associated with the proposed structure proved to be too much. The Community Center Association decided that the best way to expand and modernize the existing park was to involve the federal and city governments. With their aid, and the availability of state and federal funding, the dream of a first class community showpiece, complete with a state-of-the-art recreational building, could become a reality.

In October 1966, in an unprecedented move, the Association sold the remaining sixteen acres (two had been sold as individual housing lots along Breining Street to raise money) to the City of Pittsburgh for $1. In return for that one dollar, the city promised to develop the land into an expanded, more accessible park, one that they predicted would serve over 11,000 people, including 3500 school age children living in the Brookline-Overbrook area.

A successful presentation by Moore Park Recreation Director Chuck Senft was given detailing the activities and programs planned for the new facility. It was pivotal in convincing the Parks Department and the Brookline residents to accept the city offer.

The Port Authority, having recently ceased trolley operations in Brookline, donated the four acres of the 39-Brookline trolley loop. The city also designated the adjacent thirty-eight wooded acres, all tax deliquent properties, as part of the new Brookline Memorial Park.

Brookline Memorial Community Center Park now spanned nearly sixty acres. Plans for improvements included a swimming pool, modern recreation building, lighted baseball/softball complex, regulation sized baseball field, football/soccer field, basketball courts, tennis facilities, nature trails, campgrounds, ice-skating rink and more.

A corner marker placed in the woods denoting
one of the Brookline Park boundaries.

The park was to be completed in five years, by the spring of 1972. The offer sounded too good to be true, but there were no other choices. The land was turned over and residents prayed that the city would follow through with their promises.

Park Improvements Begin With New Recreation Center

The first priority was the building of a recreation building. Groundbreaking for the new Brookline Memorial Recreation Center was held on July 25, 1969. Construction took two years. The building was completed in the spring of 1971. The 10,500 square foot building housed a 50' by 70' gymnasium, including a basketball court and folding stage, two 22' by 20' activity rooms, weight room, kitchen, warming hut for skaters, restrooms and locker facilities, all at a cost of $430,000.

The general contractor was J.J. McGaffin. The building was positioned about twenty feet from the left field fence of the Little League diamond. It made an excellent target for the long ball. Local homerun king Eddie Beveridge, in 1972, hit several truly Ruthian shots over the building. He was only eleven years old at the time.

Brookline Journal
 front page

Access to the building and park area were slightly improved. A dirt roadway led from Breining Street to the upper plateau. Parking there was expanded. Wooden steps were built to allow people to get down the steep hill to the Little League fields. On the lower plateau, near the building, parking was also expanded and the walkways around the fields were paved.

Even with these improvements, it was still difficult to get to the park. Vehicle access was limited to the upper dirt road, or via Oakridge Street, with its dangerous intersection at Breining Street. For the kids, there were always the improvised paths either through the woods to Carmalt, up the sandy hill to Breining Street, or down into the ravine, over "the pipe", and up the hill to Brookline Boulevard.

The old Little League Field
Lights were added to the Little League field in 1971.

Further improvements included the addition of lights to the Little League field. It was quite a thrill for the Little Leaguers to play night games under the lights. Playground equipment was erected behind the new building, and picnic tables were placed in spots.

Tennis courts and a portable four-foot pool were added in 1973 to the upper park level. An unfortunate change was the loss of the century old Anderson house, which burned to the ground in the summer of 1971.

Aside from these improvements, no further work was done by the city in the park. Impatience within the community began to grow. In addition to the unfulfilled promises, the old Community Center building on the upper level was in a sad state of disrepair and unusable.

The land behind the lower ballfields had become a cratered moonscape. Erosion along the Senior League outfield fence forced the placement of telephone pole sections in spots to keep balls, and kids, from falling through. Residents began to complain.

Logs along the fence  Logs along the fence
By the mid-1970s the ballfields were in a state of disrepair.

Local organizations, led by the Brookline Little League Association and the Brookline Area Community Council, came together and applied pressure to the city agencies responsible for developing the land. Through the perseverance of people like Little League President Angelo Masullo and Community Council President Elva McGibbeny, the city finally acted.

Brookline Park Expansion - Phase Two

In the spring of 1975, three years after park construction was to be completed, the second phase of development began. The ravine bordering Brookline Boulevard was to be filled, extending in a half moon all the way up and around to join with the upper plateau.

This filled land would become a new roadway, parking area, baseball field, football field, and open greenspace for picnicking. The Master Plan, submitted in May 1975 was an impressive architectural design.

The Pipe, 1975.  One of the thousands of trucks bringing landfill
The wooded ravine is leveled with dirt from the Port Authority East Busway project.

Half a million cubic yards of landfill were shipped in. This fill came from the construction of the Port Authority East Busway. The trucks came, one-by-one, for months. City cleaning crews hosed the streets daily to keep down the dirt.

By the Winter of 1975, the valley had been leveled approximately to its present position. Plans to fill further were postponed, and eventually discontinued due to utility lines that ran along the construction perimeter. Diverting these obstacles proved too costly for city developers, and the present boundaries of the developed park were set. The new baseball-only field was designated a multi-purpose baseball/football/soccer field.

Ballfield Delays

Due to landslide concerns, the hillsides were sloped from the old fields down to the fill zone, where a new field was to be built. The aging outfield fences were removed, leaving no effective baseball fields. Without fields to play on, the 1976 Little League season was threatened.

Delays in ballfield construction threatened
to cancel the 1976 Senior League season.
Parents and children look at unfinished ballfield - 1976.

Angry parents, with help from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, pressured the Parks Department for a remedy to save the season. Temporary fences and lights were erected. The city promised to have a new Senior League field completed by the spring of 1977. As the springtime approached, the city again stalled.

Land being leveled for new ballfield.  Top soil being spread the new ballfield.
Construction of Danny McGibbeny Field - 1977.

Relentlessly pressured once again by community organizations, the leveling and developing of the ballfield area resumed. In July 1977, the first game was played on the new Senior League field. The girl's softball league moved onto the vacated Pony field. The remaining landfill area was converted into a park roadway, vehicle parking, two large grassy fields and an expanded children's playground, with landscaping and tree planting throughout.

On October 8, 1977, the new ballfield was named Danny McGibbeny Memorial Field, in memory of a young Brookline man who dedicated much of his twenty-six short years to community service. On this rainy October day, the park itself also received it's new official designation, Brookline Memorial Park.

Brookline Park Expansion - Phase Three

In the Fall of 1980, with renewed pressure from the Brookline Little League Association and the Brookline Area Community Council, the city began work on the third and final phase of park development. This required extensive excavating, and the transformation would be dramatic.

Brookline Park - Fall 1980.
Phase Three of the park construction required extensive excavation.

Gone would be the old Little League and Senior League baseball fields, the concession stand, the old basketball courts and the blockhouse. In place of this would be a new swimming pool, tennis courts, an expanded roadway with additional parking, and a lighted multi-field baseball complex.

The playground next to the Recreation Building in 1981.
The playground next to the Recreation Building in 1981.

Work began in the fall of 1980 and was completed by June 1981. The field was officially christened in June of the following year. The Brookline Little League called its new baseball complex Sam Bryen Fields, in honor of the man many call the Father of the Brookline Little League.

Dedication of Sam Bryen Fields - June 1982.
Special guests at the June 1982 dedication of Brookline's Sam Bryen Fields were:
Pittsburgh Parks Director Louise Brown, BACC President Elva McGibbeny, State
Representative Mike Dawida, Sam Bryen and BLLA President Ed Motznik.

In mid-June, coinciding with the dedication of the new ballfields and swimming pool, the Brookline Area Community Council sponsored the first Junefest, a community carnival to celebrate the grand opening of the new Brookline Memorial Park. The Junefests celebrations were a big hit with the community and continued from 1982 through 1985.

Junefest - 1982
The Brookline Junefest in 1982 was a huge success.

In addition to Moore Park, built in 1940, Brookline now had another top-notch recreational park that it could truly be proud of. Facilities were on hand for year-round use, and the Community Center expansion was complete.

A True Community Center

Since completion of construction in 1982, Brookline Park has been one of the unchallenged centers of the Brookline neighborhood, a true Community Center. For seventeen years, from 1982-1998, the Brookline Youth Soccer Association made their home on the lower fields.

BYSA Soccer Action - 1998.
Brookline Youth Soccer action - Fall 1998.

The Brookline Little League Association, sixty years young in 2010, expanded to eight leagues serving over 600 children, and the Brookline Knights Football Association teams, expanded to six teams, now had a permanent home field.

1980 Twerps
The Knights 1980 Twerp team celebrates a home victory at McGibbeny Field.

The Recreation Center thrived, offering a variety of activities, including basketball leagues, soccer camps, championship boxing teams, track clubs, and ceramics classes, to mention just a few. Annual events, like the Brookline Breeze, the Talent Shows and the Chamber of Commerce Easter Egg Hunts added to the excitement. There were abundant opportunities for the neighborhood children to engage in recreational activities.

Additional Brookline Park Improvements

In the final years of the 20th Century, the park underwent additional improvements. In 1995, the Little League Association, with local donations and volunteer labor led by Tony Colangelo, constructed a new concession stand and restroom facility inside the baseball complex. The stand was dedicated to three city firemen who had perished earlier that year.

Mayor Tom Murphy dedicates new playground.
Mayor Tom Murphy dedicates new playground - 1997.

In 1997, Mayor Tom Murphy dedicated a modern playground facility, and the outdoor basketball court was resurfaced. In 1999, a picnic pavilion was constructed next to the playground. Sidewalks and light standards were repaired or replaced.

The 21st Century Ushers In More Changes

The dawn of the 21st Century brought more subtle changes to Brookline Park. In 2001, the facades on both the baseball Wall of Fame Archway and the pool area were refurbished with new brick facing and trim. The tennis courts, which had fallen into disrepair, were replaced by a small T-Ball field, later named Stephen Mayhle Memorial Field. Tons of fresh landfill were dumped and leveled behind McGibbeny Field, enlarging the area for future expansion.

In May of 2002, Citiparks Director Duane Ashley and the Recreation Center Staff had the pleasure of re-dedicating the Brookline Recreation Center after a six-month, $400,000 remodeling effort. The gymnasium was completely refurbished, including the installation of a hardwood basketball floor, new lighting, upgraded fixtures and a large electronic scoreboard. To christen the new gymnasium, the staff started the Summer Youth Basketball Leagues.

New Storage Building and Pavilion
for the Brookline Little League.
Little League storage building and pavilion - Spring 2008.

The year 2003 saw the construction of a concession and storage building and the installation of a lighted scoreboard for McGibbeny Field and the Brookline Knights football program. Five years later, a two-level storage building and pavilion was constructed between the ballfields in the upper Sam Bryen complex. It was ready for the opening of the 2008 Little League season. A smaller pavilion overlooking the T-Ball field was built the following year. Also in 2008, upgrades were made to McGibbeny Field, including a new infield, resurfaced outfield, new fencing and goal posts.

The second decade of the new millenium began with a major improvement to the Recreation Center Building. In December of 2010, the Brookline community celebrated the dedication of a new fitness facility, with a weight lifting gym and a cardio room complete with all new equipment. The $400,000 investment included a commercial HVAC system and a complete remodeling of the lower level.

Brookline DEK Hockey Action - December 15, 2013
The DEK Hockey Rink is a vibrant addition to the park - December 2013.

In the Fall of 2013, the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation chose Brookline Park as one of twelve locations in Allegheny County for the installation of a state-of-the-art lighted, outdoor DEK Hockey Rink. Built by the city and funded by the Penguins, the rink replaced the swimming pool, which was decommissioned in September 2004 and had stood idle for nine years.

The DEK rink, which cost $200,000, opened in December 2013 and was officially christened by the Penguins on July 16, 2014, when they hosted Youth Hockey Day. Available for public and private use, the rink has become the new home of the Brookline Youth Hockey League, which was chartered in 2005.

Brookline Park ballfield renovations - Fall 2016    Brookline Park ballfield renovations - Fall 2016
The Sam Bryen Little League fields were refurbished in the Fall of 2016.

The Brookline Little League Association, in the Fall of 2016, invested nearly $50,000 to refurbish the Sam Bryen Little League fields. Specially formulated dirt and clay was trucked in from North Carolina for the infields. The hump where the infield met the outfield was removed and the outfield grass sodded in the many worn spots. The fields were properly leveled and ready for the start of the 2017 season.

The results were so stunning that in the spring of 2017 the Little League Association followed up by repairing the infield of Danny McGibbeny Field on the lower level of the park.

The ballfield renovations were, to date, the last in a long series of improvements that have helped maintain Brookline Memorial Community Center Park as one of the finest neighborhood recreational facilities in the City of Pittsburgh.

A Wise Investment

Brookline Memorial Park, as we know it today, serves thousands of youths and adults alike. Who would have thought that in return for one dollar in 1966, the community of Brookline would be rewarded with such a wonderful recreational facility? Just one look around the park and the Recreation Center, which are buzzing with activity year-round, says it all.

Car Cruise at Brookline Park - May 2010.
One of the Car Cruises held yearly at Brookline Memorial Park - May, 2010

It took some aggressive action, but in the end the City of Pittsburgh came through. Several millions of dollars have been invested to complete the transformation of the privately-owned Brookline Memorial Community Center Park into a showcase family recreational facility.

This could not have been done without the dedication, perseverance, and leadership of the residents, organizations, and city authorities that worked tirelessly throughout the years. Their efforts helped turn one of the last of Brookline's old farms into a first class neighborhood park, one that the Brookline community and the City of Pittsburgh can be proud of.

Comcast Cinema in the Park - August 2010.
Thursdays during summer - Comcast Cinema In The Park - August, 2010

Compiled by Clint Burton from June 1998 through July 2014.
Articles reprinted from "The Brookline Journal" and "The Pittsburgh Post Gazette".

October 28, 2004 - Sign hanging near the playground at
 the Brookline Recreation Center. Drawn by Matthew Newman - March 27, 2003

Photo Illustrations of the Brookline Community Center

Brookline Memorial Park - Fall 2008

1. South Hills Junction
2. The Liberty Tunnels
3. 1936 - The Anderson Farm
4. The old Anderson farmhouse
5. The Brookline Trolley Loop
6. The Paul Farm
7. Brookline Recreational Provisions
8. Moore Park


9. 1947 - Purchasing the Farm
10. 1947 - The Proposed Park
11. 1947 - Park Dedication


12. Community Center Park
13. Bernard "Barney" Diehl
14. Brookline Little League
15. Little League Begins
16. Fourth of July Carnival
17. Profile: Sam Bryen
18. New Baseball Dugouts
19. New Baseball Concession Stand
20. Little League State Finals


21. New Pony League Field
22. The Proposed Recreation Center
23. Building Old Recreation Center
24. Ice Skating Rink
25. Community Center Day Camp
26. Fund Raising Parade
27. Fund Raising Carnival
28. Sale of Park to City
29. The Little League Fields
30. Profile: Chuck Senft
31. Recreation Center Groundbreaking


32. Recreation Center Construction
33. Brookline Recreation Center
34. Lighted Baseball Field
35. Upper Basketball Courts
36. The Portable Pool
37. Cratered Moonscape
38. The Outfield Fence
39. Telephone Pools
40. The Community Council
41. Profile: Angelo Masullo

42. Elva and Dan McGibbeny
43. Brookline Park Master Plan
44. Half a Million Tons of Dirt
45. Remember The Pipe?
46. City Cleaning Crews
47. Ballfield Delays
48. Playing Night Baseball
49. Building McGibbeny Field
50. The First Game
51. Baseball Field Dedication
52. Profile: Danny McGibbeny


53. Park Development
54. Extensive Excavating
55. New Swimming Pool
56. New Tennis Courts
57. Building Sam Bryen Fields
58. The Junefests 1982-1986
59. The Brookline Breeze
60. Brookline Youth Soccer
61. Brookline Knights Football


62. The Talent Show
63. The Easter Egg Hunt
64. New Concession Stand
65. Concession Stand Dedication
66. Playground Dedication


67. Recreation Center Staff
68. Summer Basketball Leagues
69. New Football Building
70. New Football Scoreboard
71. New LL Building and Pavilion
72. McGibbeny Field Modifications


73. The Big Blizzard
74. Stephen Mayhle Field
75. Classic Car Cruises
76. Brookline Memorial Park
77. Fitness Center Dedication
78. An Early Spring
79. DEK Hockey Rink
80. DEK Hockey Clinic
81. A Drone's View in Fall
82. Ballfield Renovations

<More Brookline Park Photo Links>

Brookline Memorial Park - 2002.

<Brookline History> <> <Recreation Center>