In 1909 a newly appointed commission met at city hall with then Mayor Frank Mott to assume the responsibility of establishing a public playground system.
Oakland was the second city in California to establish a playground system; the first was Los Angeles in 1905.
Superintendent of Playgrounds
In May of 1909, the commission appointed George E. Dickie, the first playground superintendent, and that summer, the city opened two “experimental” playgrounds at Tompkins and Prescott Schools.
Before 1909, the Oakland Women’s Club operated summer playgrounds for two years at West Oakland’s Tompkins and Prescott’s schools at their own expense.
With a budget of $10,000, the commission opened three municipal playgrounds in 1910.
The first was opened on January 10, 1910, at de Fremery. The park included a dozen swings, two long slides, a baseball diamond, two regulation tennis courts, and courts for basketball, volleyball, and handball.
Two weeks later, they opened Bushrod Playground at 60th Street and Shafter. The land was deeded to the city in 1904 by Dr. Bushrod Washington James of Philadelphia with the stipulations that it is maintained as a public park forever.
The first recreation “center” was built at the site, and the structure remained standing until 1943.
They then provided playground equipment to the West Oakland Park (which later became Bayview, and is now Raimondi Field) and Independence Park ( now San Antonio).
Recreation for Everyone
In 1911 the city charter was revised to include the role of recreation in the community, this resulted in disbanding the commission, and a board of playground directors was created to oversee the parks. The Parks and Recreation Department was formed
- Bushrod Park – Oakland Local Wiki
- de Fremery Park – Oakland Local Wiki
- Raimondi Park – Oakland Local Wiki
- The Park System of Oakland, California. Carruth & Carruth, 1910. – Hathitrust
- Boys and Girls Enthusiastic – Oakland Tribune Jul 19, 1909