Youngsters Make a Splash at Palmer Park
Detroit News Photo, July 13, 1937

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In an era when air conditioning was a rarity, a favorite way for Detroiters to cool off on hot summer days was to visit a nearby park for a refreshing swim or a leisurely nap under the welcoming shelter of a shade tree. On those evenings when the heat was exceptionally unbearable indoors, it was common for entire families to spread blankets and pillows on the grass and spend the night outside. Palmer Park was a popular communal sleepover spot, though not as crowded as the much larger Belle Isle, where heat waves caused thousands to put down a blanket in hopes of picking up a riverside breeze.


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