Posted to: Berkeley

A Historical Tour of San Pablo Park, Berkeley

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San Pablo Park

Berkeley has some amazing parks.  I recently learned that San Pablo Park is the oldest park in Berkeley.  I have sold a bunch of homes near the park, but it wasn’t until I was speaking to the Seller of an upcoming listing that I learned about the backstory of the park including its deep history within the community.

The land was purchased in 1907 for $35,000 (this equates to about $850k in today’s market!); in 1914 it was developed by John Gregg, a Professor of landscape gardening and floriculture at U.C. Berkeley, who designed the original sports fields and play areas.  Later that year the park was dedicated and open for use.  The park quickly became one of the best recreation fields in the San Francisco Bay Area, and or several decades, it had the only baseball diamond in town.

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Real estate for sale!

Around the 1930’s San Pablo Park became a Black neighborhood.  Amidst rising discrimination the residents surrounding the park started the San Pablo Park Neighborhood Council with the hopes of maintaining the park’s integrity.  By this time the park served as home field to both the Berkeley and Oakland Black baseball teams.  Oakland would not allow Black’s to play on their fields.

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First Black baseball team

It wasn’t until 1964 that the recreation center and children’s playground were added, costing $200,000.

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San Pablo Park, March 2017. Photo by Krista Miller.

Today the park is a thriving + active community of children playing in the tot lot; baseball enthusiasts continuing to hit home runs; the spring of tennis balls on the courts; balloons flying overhead during birthday parties; and kids + adults chasing after the ice cream truck during the Spring and Summer months.  The park has come a long way!

Next time you are in Berkeley be sure to stop by this amazing park.  And take a little time to reflect on its rich history.



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