Oakland in Alameda County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
Lafayette Square Timeline
1853 - Map of Oakland is laid out by J. Kellersberg showing seven public squares, including Lafayette Square. Six are symmetrical around Broadway, the seventh is City Hall Square.
1879 – “The City hasnít duly considered the importance of these squares. As the City becomes more densely developed, open space will become priceless” – Mayor Washburn Andrus.
1883 - Anthony Chabot builds the Chabot Observatory and Hall of Science and includes an 8” refractor telescope, chronometer and chronograph for astronomical use.
1892 – The Observatory is rebuilt with many improvements. The Assembly Hall is used for Ďschool festivals and patriotic exercisesí by Oakland High School sited across 11th Street.
1918 – The Observatory is replaced by a new observatory in the Oakland Hills to take advantage of cleaner air and less night lighting.
1929 – The original Observatory buildings are torn down. A time capsule dating from 1881 is discovered in its cornerstone.
1930ís – The Square is used as a meeting place for unemployed men and so-called agitators to the point that a debate permit is revolted in 1934. Soup kitchens are set up during the Depression.
1951 – “Alfresco checkers and card games are favorite pastimes in Lafayette Square” – Jack Burroughs, Oakland Tribune.
1958 – Lafayette Square is renovated with a new canopy restroom, horseshoe pit and game tables with funds raised by the Lakeview Junior Womenís Club.
1960ís and 1970ís – The Square gradually become known as “Old Manís Park” and continues to be used by the public for leisure and political activities.
1980ís – Due to a decline in social programs and economic conditions, there is a increase in transient and homeless populations in the Square.
1985 – Lafayette Square is designated as a City historical landmark. Mary Ann “Mother” Wright begins a food ministry at the Square.
1989 – A City task force recommends removal of the public restroom and picnic tables and that aid to the homeless be moved to Jefferson Park. Oakland Union of the Homeless protests.
1993 – The Cityís Homeless Commission and the Center for Urban Family Life meet with park regulars to develop a strategy for Lafayette Square improvements.
1995 – The City adopts the Lafayette Square – Old Manís Park Master Plan.
1996 – The City receives a National Park Service Urban Parks and Recreation Recovery Program, (UPARR) grant to construct new restrooms in the Square.
1997 – Measure I, a municipal bond for park improvements passed by the voters of Oakland funds Phase 1 improvements.
1998 – The Healthy City Oakland Fund is contracted by the City to oversee the renovation of Lafayette Square Park.
1999 – Phase 1 Master Plan improvements are completed, including the restrooms, play area, horseshoe pits and the grass hillock. An all-day celebration is held.
2000 – The Square receives an Environmental Design Research Association/PLACES Design Award for excellence in the design of public spaces.
2001 – Phase II of Master Plan is completed. Proposition 12, a state bond, provides funding for the completion of the Master Plan.
Location. 37° 48.229′ N, 122° 16.605′ W. Marker is in Oakland, California, in Alameda County. Marker is on 11th Street, on the left when traveling west. Click for map. Marker is at
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Chabot Observatory (within shouting distance of this marker); The Pardee House (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Preservation Park (about 600 feet away); Charles S. Greene Library (approx. 0.2 miles away); First Unitarian Church of Oakland (approx. 0.2 miles away); Jefferson Square Park (approx. 0.2 miles away); Oakland City Hall (approx. ľ mile away); 1946 General Strike (approx. 0.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Oakland.
Additional keywords. public parks
Categories. • Charity & Public Work •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 239 times since then and 71 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. 5. submitted on . • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.