The CHILDREN'S PLAYGROUND and SHARON LODGE

Dedicated in 1888 and originally called the Sharon Quarters for Children, the building and playground are the oldest public playground in the US, built with funds left by Senator William Sharon. Initially the $50,000 was to be used to build a large marble arch at the Stanyan entrance to the Park labeled "Golden Gate Park, Sharon 1884" but public outcry said no such monument was needed to announce the Park and it would just be a monumental gravestone. A german beer garden was also considered, but finally a children's playground and lodge were chosen and a large lake, where the playground now stands, was filled in and the lodge built under the direction of William Hammond Hall. The completion of the lodge was delayed as stone masons and materials were being diverted to the construction of Stanford University. Leland Stanford also owned the railroad which carried all the material. When finally completed, the upper floor held refreshment booths, and the lower floor was used to store items for loan to patrons of the playground. The original outfitting consisted of six bicycles, six tricycles, six baby carriages, two donkeys, and three croquet sets.