Steps at SE corner, Montclair Park - Oakland CA
The seven-acre Montclair Park in Oakland was built with the aid of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in 1938-40. This gem of a park lies just north of Montclair Village in the Oakland hills and below Montclair Elementary School.
The park includes a recreation center, duck pond, large grass fields, a baseball field, pickleball courts, a picnic area, children’s playground and a play area under a group of large trees.
The most striking feature of Montclair Park is its extensive stonework, which has held up admirably over the years. The west side of the park, along Moraga Avenue, has a low stone wall with a WPA inscription near the NW corner. The recreation center, play areas and duck pond all are marked off by stone walls and accessed by sweeping paths and stone steps.
The most memorable stonework is on the east side of the park, where two sets of steps climb up the hill to Mountain Boulevard and the pickleball courts (formerly a tennis court) are flanked by stone bleachers. At the north end of the park, walks and steps lead up to what appears to have been a small stage and benches. Another pathway seems to have led to the elementary school once upon a time.
The City of Oakland Recreation Department put in $90,000 for the park and recreation center (Beebe 1938). The amount of federal funds is not certain. We know that $55,000 was allocated for this and another WPA project in 1937-38 (Gray 1938). More was likely added in 1939-40, but we have not been able to track down those figures.
The old fire station done in “Hansel & Gretel” style at the far north end is not part of the park.
Clare Beebe, "Work started on Montclair Recreation Center project," Oakland Tribune, March 27, 1938.
Jane Gray, "Highlights of playground activities: City releases year's survey", Oakland Tribune, September 18, 1938, p. 8-A
WPA Plaque on site (see photo)
Project originally submitted by Dr. Tanya Lyn March on July 10, 2022.
Additional contributions by Ben Stone, Richard A Walker.
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