The Oakland History of Lake Merritt

Lake Merrit is quite extensive and interesting. The lake was originally created in 1869 as a tidal estuary, connecting the Oakland Estuary to San Leandro Bay. Over the years, Lake Merritt has served many purposes, including a source of drinking water, recreation, drainage and wildlife habitat. Today it is protected by the City of Oakland and designated as a wildlife refuge.

The lake has long been a favorite spot for Oaklanders to enjoy, with its beautiful views and many activities that can be enjoyed around the lake. Visitors can take in the sights by walking or biking along the 3-mile perimeter path. Boating is also popular on the lake, which is home to two yacht clubs, the Lake Merritt Boating Center, and several public boat launch sites. The lake is also known for its wildlife, including fish, ducks, turtles, frogs and other aquatic species.


Additionally, the lake is home to many birds, including egrets and herons that can be seen wading in the shallows or perched atop trees near the shore. Lake Merritt is a special place in the Oakland community, and its rich history lives on today. For those looking to learn more about the history of Lake Merritt, there are many sources available. The Oakland Museum of California offers historical exhibits on the lake’s past, as well as interactive activities for children.

The Oakland History Room of the Oakland Public Library also offers a variety of materials related to Lake Merritt’s history, along with free resources for researching local history. Additionally, books about the lake can be found in bookstores and online, providing a wealth of information about this iconic body of water.

Whether you visit in person or explore from home, you can learn more about this treasured part of Oakland’s history. With its stunning views and vibrant wildlife, Lake Merritt is sure to remain an important part of the city for years to come. So be sure to take a moment to appreciate all that it has to offer!

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