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This present-day Chinatown hub was originally named Oakland Square. To commemorate the anniversary of Lincoln’s birth in 1898, the square was renamed Lincoln Square. To mark the occasion a young sequoia tree was planted, "...around whose roots was deposited soil from each of the nation's forty-six states and two territories; soil also from the Washington, Lincoln and Grant tombs, from the Bunker Hill Monument and the famed Sloats Monument in Monterey." Unfortunately, the tree is no longer in the park.

Lincoln Square is the only one of these four historic parks to have a functioning recreation center. It is a nexus of goings-on from 9am to 9pm. More than 1,000 people of all ages use this park daily, taking advantage of a variety activities including the ever-popular line dancing class, ping pong tournaments, after-school tutoring and pick-up basketball. Many of the classes are sponsored by the Chinese American Citizens Alliance. With the deficit of downtown open space, Lincoln is the playground for more than a dozen area schools.

The 'junk ship' play structure is a Lincoln Square landmark used by kids young and old. Originally built in 1969 as a community project through the Wa Sung service club, the popular boat was completely renovated in 2006.

Darlene Lee, the after-school program manager, has been a 'park mom' for generations of Chinatown kids. She is the go-to person for conflict resolution, problem-solving, and general consolation. She is always at the ready with kind words and a pocketful of Dum-Dum lollypops! Darlene guided us in developing two 'green' enhancements so we could engage with the kids, who are eager to be represented in the park. We worked together to design and build 'monogrammed' park benches. A dedicated group of boyscouts worked with us to create a butterfly garden in one of the park’s few green spots.

Downtown Oakland, CA


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lafayette square park lincoln square park madison square park jefferson square park