1861, the scenic splendor of Brooklyn Basin brought sea-weary Capt.
Thomas W. Badger ashore to build a permanent home and a popular weekend
getaway. He transformed his estate into the bucolic shoreline resort of
Badger's Grand Central Park. Taking advantage of the transbay ferry
system, a crowd of 4,000 paying customers christened the new facility on
April 14, 1872.
A restaurant served East Bay oysters, beef, wine and steam beer. Theater
and opera productions filled a 3,000-seat pavilion. Exotic plants and
animals thrived in a botanical garden and menagerie. Baseball games and
trotting races brought the "cranks"--as sports fans were called--into
But demands for expansion of the booming transportation industry soon
required that Badger give up his land. By 1885, the scenic park was
transformed to a tangle of railroad tracks and busy inner-harbor piers.
Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room
"Walk Along the Water"
© Oakland Museum of California, used with permission.
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