New Woodland picnic area, Tilden Park - Berkeley CA
The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and Works Progress Administration (WPA) built as many as twenty picnic grounds in Tilden Park over the course of the New Deal period. These areas lie along the Loop Road, Central Park Drive and South Park Drive (see map). They are all still in use except for one replaced by a later merry-go-round.
The work normally included clearing and leveling the ground, building picnic tables and fireplaces. Reports by the park district indicate that 28 outdoor fireplaces were built, along with 350 picnic tables. Several picnic areas have playfields, as well.
Most of the original fixtures have been replaced/rebuilt, but there remain a dozen or more stone stoves of antique design (some of which are crumbling and no longer in use). A handful of stone drinking fountains remain, as well, both rebuilt and decrepit.
It is unknown to us whether the amphitheater seating at New Woodland group camp is original or not.
Elbert Vail, The Early Story of the East Bay Regional Parks. Unpublished manuscript, available at East Bay Regional Parks District archives.
Elbert Vail, Progress Report, c 1940, available at East Bay Regional Parks District archives
Elbert Vail, 1940 Master Plan. Oakland CA: East Bay Regional Parks District, 1940, available at East Bay Regional Parks District archives
Amanda Sue Marshall, "WPA and CCC worksites in East Bay Regional Parks," research report for Living New Deal, January 2, 2012.
Mimi Stein, A Vision Achieved:Fifty Years of the East Bay Regional Parks District. Oakland CA: East Bay Regional Parks District, 1984. @ https://www.ebparks.org/civicax/filebank/blobdload.aspx?BlobID=25719
Brechin, Gray. 2008. "Forgotten Foundation". Bay Nature Magazine. January 1. http://baynature.org/articles/jan-mar-2008/forgotten-foundation
Smith, Harvey. 2014. Berkeley and the New Deal. Charleston SC: Arcadia Books.
Amanda Sue Marshall, The East Bay Hills: A Brief History. Charleston SC: The History Press, 2017.
Project originally submitted by Richard Walker on August 8, 2020.
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