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Colonel Allensworth
Five Views: An Ethnic Historic Site Survey for California



A.M.E. Church
Noted Individuals

Historic Sites
Selected References


A History of Black Americans in California:

San Pablo Park
Berkeley, Alameda County

San Pablo Park was developed by the City of Berkeley between 1910 and 1914. One of the city's first parks, it includes a playground, ball diamond, and field house. The tract was donated to the city by the Mason McDuffie Company. The May 11, 1910 minutes of the Playground Commission reported, "The Secretary of the Park Commission had telephoned that a portion of the San Pablo Tract would be set aside for use of the Playground Commission if so desired. The offer was accepted and it was decided to ask for three acres near the northern end of the tract." In the spring of 1910, the Playground Commission appropriated $500 to buy equipment to outfit the playground; by 1913, a baseball diamond and field house had been installed. The Playground Commission's minutes of its June 11, 1913 meeting included the recommendation "that the same San Pablo Park be put in first class condition that it may be used at the earliest possible moment as a recreation center." The following year, University of California Professor John Gregg, professor of landscape gardening and floriculture, College of Agriculture, laid out plans for San Pablo Park. In September 1914, San Pablo Park was opened as a recreation field. Throughout the early years, the park was steadily improved until it provided two baseball diamonds, two tennis courts, boys' and girls' play sections with outdoor gymnasium apparatus, a field house, and two handball courts. The park quickly won recognition as one of the best recreation fields in the San Francisco Bay Area; for several decades, it had the only baseball diamond in the city.

In late 1930, after San Pablo Park had become a Black neighborhood, the city proposed removing the baseball diamond to build a children's nursery. In light of prevailing discrimination, the residents viewed the City of Berkeley's proposal to remove the diamond as just another example of institutional racism. In an effort to maintain the park's integrity, residents formed the San Pablo Park Neighborhood Council. When the council came into being around 1936, San Pablo Park was the home field for both the Oakland and Berkeley Black baseball teams. Oakland would not permit Blacks to play on that city's athletic fields.

In 1964, the present San Pablo Park Community Clubhouse was erected at a cost of $200,000. At present, in addition to the clubhouse's formal function as a recreational center, public educational and recreational programs are scheduled in the facility's meeting halls, as are private receptions, social affairs, and neighborhood political activities.

The park includes a playground, two baseball diamonds, tennis courts, and a recreation center. Surrounding it are neatly manicured tree-lined streets and pastel-colored stucco and clapboard bungalows built after the tract opened in 1914.

San Pablo Park
San Pablo Park, Berkeley, Alameda County

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