Gold Star Park is a wonderful neighborhood pocket park. It’s located on the 600 block of Wharton St., sitting between Sheridan and Marshall Sts., on the north side. Its 25K sqft footprint includes a playground and plenty of green space that the local community uses for events in the warmer months. When we snapped these photos a week ago, outdoor events weren’t exactly on our minds.

The sign

A snowy park, from Wharton St.

Looking southwest through the park

What you might not know is that the park sits on the site of the long demolished John Hay School. The school was constructed in 1906 and burned in 1939. The park, like the school, was originally named for John Hay, a private secretary for Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War. It was later renamed Gold Star Park, for the Gold Star Mothers Organization. Gold Stars represent family members who lost their lives in World War II.

The school, in the year it was built

An enlarged school, after the fire in 1939

Interior shot of the burned school. Images from

Can anyone else think of any neighborhood parks that sit on sites that once were schools?

And what are the chances of something like this ever happening again in Philadelphia?