In 1959, Intermediate School 51 was built on Staten Island's North Shore. The Markham Intermediate School, as it is also known, was named for Edwin Markham, a California teacher and school principal. Markham became known to Staten Islanders after having published works of poetry and soon after moved to Staten Island. While residing on Staten Island, he lived nearby, in the neighborhood of Westerleigh.
In 1962, a parcel of land adjacent to the school was transformed to be used as the school's playground. It was then known as Junior High School 51 Playground. For years, the playground has been operated by both the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and the New York City Board of Education. During the latter part of the twentieth century, New York City Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner Henry J. Stern renamed the park to coincide with the school. Today, it is known as Markham Playground.
Intermediate School 51 and its playground are both located to the east of Willow Road East. Markham Playground extends all the way from Forest Avenue, down to the corner of Willow Road East and Houston Street. At the southern end of the park, you can find benches and game tables, which are outside of a gate that encloses the remainder of the park. Moving further north are swing sets, play equipment, and spray showers. Past these facilities are a baseball diamond and basketball courts, which are closest to the L-shaped school. Further north, closest to Forest Avenue, you can find bocce ball courts and handball courts.