Surrounded by community members and keiki, Mayor Kirk Caldwell and developer Stanford Carr unveiled the revitalized Mother Waldron Park in Kakaako on Friday.
Carr gave the city $500,000 to renovate the 1.76-acre park by adding a new basketball court, playground and landscaping. The area borders Carr’s new low-income housing development called Halekauwila Place.
The historic park, which was built in 1937, was designed by Harry Sims Bent in the art deco style, and named after Margaret Waldron (1873-1936), a teacher who helped youth gangs in Kakaako.
“I look at this park as a bringing back to life of something that lived so long ago and once again lives, centered right here in the heart on one of the most urban dense areas of our community,” Caldwell said.
The mayor also told a story about Mother Waldron that took place during World War I. She had wanted to use the area as a park, but it was strewn with rocks.
To solve that problem, she got a photo of Kaiser Wilhelm II, who led Germany during the war, and had it enlarged, placed on plywood and secured to a tree.
Waldron then instructed neighborhood kids to throw the rocks at the Kaiser, effectively clearing the area for a playground. America, of course, fought Germany during the war.