Live Oak Park


1200 block, between Shattuck Avenue and Walnut Street map it




Live Oak Park was created in 1914 when the City of Berkeley purchased four acres from landowners R.S. Penniman and Michael O’Toole. Mr. Penniman’s brown shingle house served as the park clubhouse and also, from 1916-1936, as Berkeley’s North Branch Public Library. The Walnut Street bridge over Codornices Creek was constructed in 1915 and an aviary featuring “a nice assortment of rare birds” was added a few years later. Also built at about this time, the tennis courts and the park’s large outdoor stone fireplace became important features of community life. For generations, the fireplace has been a gathering spot for Boy Scout meetings and family picnics. After the clubhouse was destroyed by fire in 1951, architect Robert Ratcliff designed a new recreation center. The huge wisteria by the children’s play yard is a remnant from the Penniman garden.

Berkeley Historical Plaque Project

  • Live Oak Park (2010), photo R. Kehlmann.

  • Live Oak Park, bridge (2010), photo R. Kehlmann.

  • Live Oak Park, lower level (2010), photo R. Kehlmann.

  • North Berkeley BAHA walking tour map, BAHA Archives.

Photo credit abbreviations:
BAHA: Berkeley Architectural Heritage Assn.
BHS: Berkeley Historical Society