The Importance of Forts

The Importance of Forts

Tammy Everts
Jun 17, 2010

Our recent post on the war on children's playgrounds, combined with our other posts about great playhouses, got me thinking about the structures I used to build with my siblings: rickety treehouses and forts that definitely would not have passed a safety inspection. I don't have any pictures of my own childhood forts, but I did find this inspiring photo of an awesome '70s-era kid-built structure that hearkens back to the spirit of our projects.

Flickr member Ken Meyer writes about this childhood image:

My brother, sister, myself, and our friends built this ultimately 3-story monstrosity from scrap we found along the I-66 right-of-way, which included torn down houses and businesses along the former railroad line. This fort was opposite 1808 Johnston St. in Arlington, VA. Eventually people from the county came and tore this down. We had foolishly built it right next to the road.

I often feel that city-planners fail to recognize the need for free spaces for kids to create their own stuff. In our case, a 20-year fight over an interstate highway created a great over-grown no-man's-land of ruins and forest.

Without sounding all lecture-y, it's great to see this reminder of how amazingly resourceful and creative kids can be, and the importance of projects like this in developing a sense of teamwork and good ol' DIY pride.

Do you have any fond memories of childhood forts? Do tell in the comments!

(Images: Flickr member Ken Meyer licensed for use under Creative Commons license)

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