P.A.L. Gym

The Police Athletic League (P.A.L.) Gym was established around 1968 and gained significance in the African-American community for its boxing program. The program continued at this city-owned site until c. 1975, when it moved to Ewing Street. In the
late 1980s, the P.A.L. constructed a community center on Farragut Avenue; boxing continued at this location until the mid-1990s. Historic maps indicate that the Reservoir Street gym was originally constructed by the Trenton Water Works around 1915 as a meter house. It is unclear whether the building was used for recreational purposes prior to 1968; however, the adjacent property to the north was developed as a swimming pool and athletic fields after the City of Trenton constructed a new reservoir on Prospect Street in 1908. Four years later, Washington Roebling donated funds to build a two-story clubhouse at the park, which was then known as Stadium Playground. During the Great Depression, the Works Progress Administration ran recreational programs at the site. In 1937, the Boys Club of Trenton began its first programs serving Black and white school-age boys at the Stadium Playground, which continued until 1954. The Boys Club pool became a point of controversy in the African-American community during the 1930s due to a policy that limited Black youths’ access to the facility. The Stadium Playground and swimming pool were removed around 1975.

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