Ohlone Park Turns 50
An anniversary celebration will honor the founders of the park and the Ohlone people it is named for.
For half a century, Ohlone Park, with its playgrounds, dog park, lazy winding walking paths, and a 40-foot four-sided mural of Ohlone native history, has been a beautiful spot of green in the middle of Berkeley and a balm for the harried urban soul of the city. But it didn’t have an easy start.
In 1969, the land that was to eventually become the park was a mere trench dug as part of the BART extension through Berkeley. But when residents started planting grass and trees on the raggedy plot, it eventually became a place that everyone could enjoy. Activists fought to protect it as a public space for all people, and eventually the city recognized it a park, giving it the name it still holds today.
The 50th anniversary celebration of Ohlone Park this month recognizes the citizen activists and ordinary people who fought to found the park and honors the local Ohlone native people for whom the park was named. The people who lived through the park’s creation will attend to retell stories of the protests and activism that made the park in the ’60s, and members of the local Muwekma Ohlone tribe and artist Jean LaMarr will cooperate in a rededication ceremony of LaMarr’s four-sided mural of Ohlone life and history. Celebrations continue into the afternoon with a Native California Indian arts and culture festival, including music and dance as well as craft demonstrations and sales, a plant and crop swap, children’s activities, food vendors, and more. Sat., June 1, 11 a.m.– 4 p.m., free, Ohlone Park on Hearst Avenue from Milvia to Sacramento streets, Berkeley, Ohlone.transbay.net.