Oakland Memorial Park (earthquake park)

In the Cypress district of West Oakland is a memorial park about the 1989 earthquake, which did the majority of its killing here. The sculpture at the corner of 14th Street and Mandela Parkway represents the ladders that local residents quickly raised against the wreckage of the collapsed freeway that once ran through here.

earthquake park oakland

Looking at the sculpture toward the hills, you also notice ring-shaped berms invoking the seismic waves that rippled north through the site from the epicenter in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

earthquake park oakland

Here’s a view from the sidewalk looking the other way. The park takes up an L-shaped portion of the block, the rest of which is occupied by a fire station.

earthquake park oakland

The floor of the sculpture pad briefly describes the scene here on 17 October 1989. The edge of the park is a wall with “15 seconds” in big steel letters on it. To the right is an interpretive sign.

earthquake park oakland

This is a remarkable place that I had no inkling was here until I took a walk on Mandela Parkway yesterday. It occurs to me that there must be other memorials to the 1989 quake around the bay.

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6 Responses to “Oakland Memorial Park (earthquake park)”

  1. Rory Hidayat Says:

    Nice Info

  2. oaklandrocks Says:

    I have driven by this area several times and never realized the significance of the statue of ladders. Thanks for taking the great pictures and giving such a good explanation.

  3. Gene Says:

    I’ve been there several times, but it’s easy to miss if you’re driving. (especially if you’re focused on breakfast at BSK :-) Nice photos and coverage.

  4. Andrew Says:

    Ah yes, Brown Sugar Kitchen was on the itinerary that day too.

  5. Oakland Daily Photo Says:

    Wonderful shot of the ladder sculpture. The heroism of the residents who rescued drivers trapped in the collapsed elevated freeway cannot be overstated. The photo with the Victorian houses makes West Oakland look positively bucolic.

  6. Andrew Says:

    See more earthquake memorial parks at this post on the Trembling Earth blog.

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