North entrance sign, Temescal Regional Park - Oakland CA
The Works Progress Administration (WPA) improved Lake Temescal Park, now known as Temescal Regional Recreation Area, one of the original units of the East Bay Regional Parks District (EBRPD). When the EBRPD was created in 1934, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and WPA were called upon to make the first parks of the system ready for public use. Temescal Park opened to the public in 1936.
Along with the well-known beach house and cascade (see separate pages) at Lake Temescal, WPA workers made several other improvements – not all of which can be pin-pointed. They created a large play field area by filling the canyon below the dam. They built stone paths and rock walls around the beach house, as well as two stone benches and a picnic area on the east side of the lake (a long handicapped ramp path is newer).
They very likely constructed a utility building at the south end of the park, planted redwood trees on the hillsides around the lake, prepared the lawn area south of the lake, and built a footbridge over Temescal Creek. All these elements have been repaired, altered and added to by EBRPD over time, making it difficult to be sure exactly what is original WPA work.
The east side of Temescal Park was much altered by another New Deal-funded project, the Caldecott Tunnel and its access roads (see those project pages). Landvale Road linked Upper Broadway (the main tunnel road) to Mountain Boulevard in Montclair, and a concrete retaining wall was built to hold it up. The Sacramento Northern trolley was rerouted below that wall and a large arm of Lake Temescal was filled in for the road and railway to pass over. An exit from Landvale road to Broadway Terrace was built over a new tunnel at the south entrance of the park.
Project originally submitted by Gray Brechin on August 11, 2008.
Additional contributions by Richard A Walker.
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