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Alvarado Park
Alvarado Park (Richmond, CA).JPG
Looking northeast from "Inspiration Point" in Tilden, March 2006
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Location Richmond, California (Richmond View)
Area 42.5-acre (17.2 ha)
Created 1909
Operated by East Bay Regional Park District
Architectural style Rustic Park
NRHP reference No. 92000313
Added to NRHP April 9, 1992

Alvarado Park (formerly Grand Canyon Park) is a subsection of Wildcat Canyon Regional Park in Richmond, California and is a National Historic Place. It is located at the mouth of Wildcat Canyon in the Alvarado Park section. Between 1909 and 1923, Alvarado Park was a private park that was owned and operated by local residents. In 1923, it was donated to the city of Richmond. Later it was admitted into the East Bay Regional Park District.

Acquisition and history

In ancient times the area was the site of one of the grandest of Ohlone native American villages. The Huichun band numbered 250 people at this site and loved here for 5,000 to 7,000 years. Then, in 1985, it was incorporated into Wildcat Canyon Regional Park and forms a historic district.

In its early years, Alvarado Park was served by its own streetcar line from the East Shore and Suburban Railway, a Key System precursor, which was later discontinued. The park district made certain improvements including a new children's play area, conversion of parking into meadows, and demolition of dilapidated structures. It was also the home of the Grande Vista Sanitarium, later known as Belgum Sanitarium. Though the associated buildings have since burned to the ground, their foundations and the surrounding grounds, including an orchard remain. The park also features distinctive and noted stone masonry, retaining walls, and classical stone lampposts. The lampposts are no longer lit. A stonework bridge spans Wildcat Creek in the park main entrance. The park district is currently struggling to return the river to a more natural state in hopes of restoring its fish population and their runs. The park also featured an open-air pavilion dance hall which was converted to a roller rink, and subsequently destroyed by fire.

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