Make no mistake: Hull Park is no stuffy square.
This diamond-shaped patch of green in Ardsley Park isn’t as breathtakingly beautiful as her Historic District cousins. Hull doesn’t have a towering Johnson Square tree canopy, a Monterey monument, or a Forsyth Park fountain of swans and tritons.
Here’s what Hull Park does have:
– A spray pool feature that kids absolutely go crazy in on hot summer days. It’s built into a large stepped-concrete pavilion embedded in the side of a berm that must serve as imaginary castle and moat for plenty of dreamy kids.
– A baseball diamond, used as home field for half rubber games on fairly regular Sundays. Half rubber is to the Low Country what Whiffle Ball is to New England – great kid sport taken pretty seriously by beer-loving adults.
– Swinging benches for watchful parents.
– Joan Quarterman. She’s the beloved City Recreation Leader who has supervised the goings-on in Hull Park since May 1971. From 10-4 in the summer, and 3-6 the rest of the year, five days a week you can find her there. She brings beads and strings and games and coloring books.
Ms. Joan’s been a fixture here for so long that children she once watched over at Hull are now bringing their children to Hull Park.
“I love the parents. I love the children. We’re like family out here,” she said last week. “When you go on vacation and come back and one of the little ones comes up and says, ‘Ms. Joans, we’ve missed you.’ That makes you want to keep coming back.”
Jaclyn Wallace has been coming back with her three children for more than a decade. They live close by: “They think this is their yard,” she said. Her 11-year-old son learned to play baseball on the diamond, and last week her daughter was busy with a coloring book supplied by Ms. Joan. “She’s like a mama to all of us,” Wallace said. “She’s something special.”
Nearby, Beth McIlrath was watching her three children and a neighbor’s daughter – all soaking wet from a run through the fountains – swing on the set. They had a picnic blanket set up under a big cypress (there are also good-sized sweetgums and dogwoods here).
“The first thing they wanted to do when they got up this morning was come here and run through the fountain,” she said. “There’s just a real good family atmosphere here. If they get bored doing this, there’s the playground, and the crafts, or go sit on the blanket beneath the tree. Everyone loves Hull Park.”
The City operates supervised spray pools from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday at locations in Avondale, Forsyth Park, Forrest Hills, Hitch Village, Paulsen, Victory Heights, 38th Street Park, and Hull Park (Hull also operates noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays).