PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — City officials, neighbors and school children gathered on the banks of the Delaware River Wednesday to celebrate a $576,000 newly constructed playground at Penn Treaty Park.
A.J. Thomson, a member of the Friends of Penn Treaty, whose members tend to the park, detailed the land’s history, as a part of the Lenape Indian village of Shackamaxon.
“Does anybody remember was Shackamaxon means? This is a place where chiefs meet,” Thomson said.
According to legend, William Penn signed a peace treaty with the local Turtle Clan chief under a nearby elm tree in 1683, says Barbara Morehead, another member of the Friends of Penn Treaty.
“The tree was right over there,” she said, “and it brought the Indians and William Penn close.”
There are turtle references at Penn Treaty Park, including a sculpture for children to climb on.
Two elementary school age children read brief snippets, a prayer from Penn, and a Turtle Clan Native American blessing.
Thomson pulled a surprise on students who attended the ribbon cutting event from nearby Adaire Public and St. Laurentius Catholic Schools.
“Guess what? Free ice cream for all of the kids who are here,” he said.
They also gave out commemorative coins and distributed backpacks.