Douglas Ramsay Memorial Playground – Park # 1

 Almost ..  A Dick Button, Jr.  

Young Douglas Ramsay was a hockey enthusiast and a phenomenal free skater.   He began training with the Detroit Skating Club at the age of 8 years, under the eye of Coach Bill Swallender.

Ramsay’s hard work and elegance on the ice aided him in winning a series of Midwestern figure skating competitions.  He became an audience favorite and was often referred to as ‘Dick Button, Jr.’.

Douglas Ramsay Source: Detroit Free Press, 1961

In 1961, Douglas was 16 and a student at Redford High School.  He placed 4th at the US Championships and became a team alternate for the 1961 US Figure Skating team that would eventually be headed to the Olympic Games.    A last minute health withdrawal by another team member gave Ramsay a secured team position.   Within a week, Ramsay, Swallender and the entire US Team were headed for Prague to the World Championships.  A dream come true!

It was not be.  Unfortunately Sabena Flight 548 carrying the entire US figure skating team crashed near the Brussels airport.  Everyone on board perished.

In a 2010 Free Press article, his sister Christine fondly remembered Douglas..  “He was like my best friend.. We loved dancing to American Bandstand, making up routines in the basement.  He was a great person.”

This tidy park is tucked between Rutland and Longacre Streets south of Grand River in the Grandmont – Rosedale neighborhood.  It’s behind the Edison Elementary School across the street from Douglas Ramsay’s childhood home.

 

This is an older photo. The sign is spelled wrong. I was by this park fall of 2017 but there was ‘commerce’ happening near the park entrance so I didn’t stay long and didn’t notice if the signage had changed.
Map courtesy of google.

As always, thanks for reading.