Storytellers: The Swing on Humboldt Street

The Ingle family put up a swing 7 years ago for themselves. It just happened to be on the sidewalk, so they realized the swing was for everyone.

There's a swing on Humboldt Street, and anyone can hop on.

It sounds so simple, yet the neighbors will tell you it's more than just a swing.

"It doesn't feel like a big deal, but at the same time it feels like a very big deal, just to remember the kind of whimsy about everything," said Cecelia Morel-a-L'Huissier.

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She used to live across the street from the swing, and she'd watch as people hesitated, looked around to see if anyone was watching, and then jumped on and flew.

"If there are simple ways to connect with people like a swing, then perfect, it makes it way easier," she said. "Just talk to each other."

The swing hangs on a tree right on the sidewalk on 16th and Humboldt Street.

"Every time someone's on it, it's a giggle, it's a laugh, it's a childhood memory that's picked back up again by swinging," said Lisa Ingle, who put up the swing with her husband.

But the swing didn't always belong to everyone.

Brett and Lisa Ingle put it up for their kids, Brock and Aria, 7 years ago.

"At first I was like, 'hey get off our swing, that's our swing, you're not supposed to be on there,'" said 14-year-old Aria.

But that started to change when her mom's friend had an idea for a Facebook page.

"And then you begin to realize it's in the public realm, and why not make it a public activity," said Lisa.

They put up a sign on the tree that says, "sure, you can swing on me, but there is a fee! You have to take a picture and share!"

The pictures and videos started piling up. Lisa posts them on the Facebook page, Swing on, Humboldt.

"We've had every kind of person jump on this swing, from little kids to grandmas," said Brett.

Strangers became friends, and neighbors met.

"Cause after they swing, they're no longer strangers," said Aria.

Last year, Lisa thought she might have to take the swing down after someone complained to the city.

She doesn't know what the exact complaint was, but the city came out to inspect it, and she convinced them it needed to stay. The city asked that people hang the swing back up on the tree once they've finished using it.

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“I fought for the swing," she said. "It was, it is that important to me, and to these guys, and I hope to everyone else who comes to visit. It’s worth it.”

The Ingle family knows their neighborhood well, but they also know it's changing.

At the end of the block, a complex with 102 apartments is going up, and they hope the swing helps them meet their neighbors.

"It's just that sense of community building that is so hard to find anymore, and that's part of the reason we love it so much," said Lisa.