Bear’s-Eye View of Alameda for June 5, 2023
With all this beautiful weather hitting Alameda, I decided to head down to the Washington Park complex to check out this major recreation hub. It is so big it has been divided into Upper and Lower Washington Park and is the largest of the Alameda parks.
Before exploring today’s park area, a bit of history. The corner of Central and Eighth Avenue was the location of an ex-SP 1227 0-6-0 engine donated to the City of Alameda in the late 1950s by the Southern Pacific Railroad. It was on display until 1996 when it was given to the Golden Gate Railroad Museum and shipped off to Sonoma. Read about the museum and its mission.
When I look at the terrain between Upper and Lower Washington Park and following the line of the lagoons, my guess is that there was no Lower Washington Park area prior to the Bay being filled in. Judging by the map which shows before Neptune Beach Amusement Area was developed, Upper Washington Park might have previously been a beach.
Upper Washington Park has a massive grass area with shade trees and an array of paved paths for navigating the space which makes it great for those with mobility issues or strollers and other wheeled modes of transportation.
This park serves our community in so many ways. There are plenty of old-fashioned picnic tables made of real wood, painted green. They are great for a family picnic or even a red balloon party. Even the garbage cans are retro—made from old 50-gallon drums painted green.
The bathrooms are located in a Victorian-era building conveniently close to the children’s play structure allowing quick responses to that familiar request, “Mom, I need to go to the bathroom, NOW!!”
While this park contains the latest in cool play structures, I was really happy to see an old-fashioned swing for kids to enjoy.
There is even a horseshoe pit, but you needed to bring your own equipment.
On my late Thursday afternoon visit, there was a big basketball game going on one of the two full court set ups. My human companion recalls something about the Alameda Theatre and the Warriors being involved with getting these courts built. Does anyone know the story?
The game was awesome with folks running back and forth chasing a huge ball. I would have loved to join them, but the ball was huge and would not fit in my mouth. Game over!
I went back on Saturday to see what else was going on and found plenty of activities. One person caught my eye because of his graceful moves and the fancy knives he had. I surmised that he was practicing either an ancient martial art or a really fancy way of chopping parsley.
I headed off to Lil Arnerich baseball field where I saw a bunch of people chasing Frisbees. It was like nothing I had ever seen before. There wasn’t one thrower and one catcher.
Everyone was throwing and catching and running around wildly. I was so confused I had to pee!
There are other things you need to know before visiting this park.
THERE ARE SQUIRRELS.
In addition to these varmints, you can find a flock of Canada geese hanging out somewhere so you might need to watch where you step.
One final note, if your GPS is not working and you want to find Washington Park, just head towards Eighth Street from Central Avenue and look for the row of huge palm trees. They border the park.
My human companion is thinking about how to cover Lower Washington Park next without getting too close to the dog park since I still get overexcited when I see another dog.
That’s it for this week. If all goes according to plan, I am going to be in a photo shoot for FAAS next week. Be sure to do at least one fun thing with your human companion this week!
Mouf, Roving Reporter
Bear’s-Eye View of Alameda