Ishinomaki Elementary Swinging Pole
1951 Photograph by an American Military Doctor
Thanks to Stefan Ramos for the translation
Feb. 18th, 2018
The school gate of the Ishinomaki Elementary faced the road in front of the old Kyuishinomaki Town Hall that was built in 1917 (Taisho 6). The main and secondary gates were made up of four white granite poles, and if you entered the school grounds on the right-hand side towards the back was playground equipment.
In the picture, the children are gathered around a “swinging pole.” Many remember the nearby jungle gym and slide, and the horizontal bars in the front of the school. You won’t notice the swinging pole there anymore. Since there were chains fixed to the props on both ends of the thick log, it was a toy that hung horizontally and would graze the surface of the ground. It could be enjoyed like a swing swaying forwards and backwards.
The log that the kids would sit on was quite large so several children could ride at the same time. There was no place to grab onto the log, so it was difficult for the younger children to not fall off if someone shook it. With envious eyes they watched the skilled older children.
One day, the log toy was suddenly dismantled and disappeared. Maybe it was taken down during regular maintenance?
Behind the log toy is the newly built Ishinomaki community center, and there is a long stairwell stretching down from the second-floor emergency exit.
Because of an official notice from the national government, in June of 1947 (Showa 22) the community center leased the second floor of the Kankeimarushoten store on Omachidori Street and reopened. In June of 1949 at the site of the old Kyuishinomaki Town Hall in Yatsuzawa (currently Yatsuzawakoen Park) a new wooden mortar, two story building was constructed and the community center reopened there as the first independent community center in the prefecture.
This writer, a graduate of Ishinomaki Elementary, would take a field trip after school and stop by to visit the different exhibitions. This community center is filled with memories of walking around the building with shoes still on.
• By Local Historian, Seiji Henmi
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You can browse the published photos on the photographer’s eldest son, Alan Butler’s, website “Miyagi 1951”. https://www.miyagi1951.com/
Please feel free to contribute any information regarding these photos to Mr. Henmi at 090(4317)7706.