Badger's Park  

Thomas Badger's houseIn 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 the grandstands.

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.

Steven Lavoie
Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room

Oakland Museum of California Logo  "Walk Along the Water"
  Oakland Museum of California, used with permission.

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