McKinley Park is a historically significant city park located in Sacramento, California. The Sacramento Street Railway Company built the park in 1871 to attract passengers to its line, and the park continues to serve as both a recreational area and a gathering spot for residents of the greater Sacramento area.
The Sacramento Street Railway Company purchased land near the Sacramento city limits in 1871. Hoping to attract customers, they turned the area into a park. This endeavor was a success, and suburban growth soon followed and made the site more developed. One of the earliest events held at the park was a social dance on January 21, 1872. Picnics were extremely popular during this time, so predictably, many were held in the park. Churches and other organizations would organize these events at the park, with the Sacramento Record-Union reporting that seventeen picnics would be held in five weeks during April and May 1883. The city of Sacramento purchased the park from the company in 1902 and renamed it from East Park to McKinley Park to honor President William McKinley following his assassination in 1901. The park was also annexed into the city of Sacramento at this time.
As of 2021, the park is a staple in the Sacramento community. It is over 32 acres (13 ha) in size and includes basketball and tennis courts, baseball and soccer fields, and a rose garden. The rose garden, created in 1928, often holds weddings and other events. The park also hosts a $1.5 million playground, created after the prior playground (built-in 1976) burned down in a 2012 accident. The park also contains a lake named Lake Keisel after Frederick Keisel, the son of one of the Sacramento Street Railway Company owners. In the 1920s, the lake hosted an alligator exhibit. The lake was renovated in 1988, adding an island for ducks and geese to nest in. An additional renovation in 2017 improved the lake’s water quality. The park was officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 18, 2018. EZ Sacramento Junk Removal
Today the park encompasses over 32 acres, comprising a main park area and a much smaller annex. A 1-mile crushed granite walking and jogging path runs along the edges of the park, and it is a very popular route with locals. The 1.5-acre rose garden, created in 1928, is a popular wedding spot and a nice, quiet, and visually pleasing retreat within the city. Beyond the Rose Garden, the artificial pond is home to ducks, geese, birds, and turtles. On sunny days it is common to see the turtles stretched out and enjoying the heat while mallards and Canada geese swim leisurely around them. The park boasts a variety of mature trees, including English elm, pin oak, ponderosa pine, and coast redwood.
A fire destroyed the wooden playground in the summer of 2012, and a new $1.5-million playground was built. This new, state-of-the-art playground includes elements inspired by the area’s rich local history; it also has rubberized padding for ground cover, is accessible to those with disabilities, and provides children with a dynamic environment that encourages creativity. Some regular events at the park include a Saturday morning farmer’s market, free yoga classes from Yoga Across America, the Pops in the Park music concert series, and the popular Tour the Trees of McKinley Park.
Address: 601 Alhambra Blvd, Sacramento, CA
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