Bothwell Park

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2466 Eighth Street
2.13 acres
Opened 1959

Construction was completed and a formal Park Dedication took place June 2, 2010.

Newly renovated park contains new picnic and play areas, new landscaping and new bocce ball courts with all-weather synthetic surfacing.

Ribbon cutting ceremony Aerial view of Bothwell ParkBothwell Park play structure Bicycle rack at Bothwell Park Swing at Bothwell Park Aerial view of bocce courts

Bothwell Recreation Center history

This square block of property, bounded by 7th and 8th, G and H Streets, has been important to Livermore citizens for more than 115 years

When Livermore Assemblyman Frank Fassett introduced legislation in Sacramento in 1889 to create unified school districts (including the ability to assess country school districts for post-8th grade education), Livermore was designated Joint Unified School District No.1 in the State of California.

Funds derived therefrom enabled the local citizens to construct a high school building on this block.

The first students moved into the building in 1894 (previously, high school was housed in a room or two in the old Livermore Grammar School on Fifth Street). The two-story structure occupied the whole block and served as the community's high school for almost 40 years. The last class graduated from this building in 1929, the same year the new high school on Maple Street was completed.

Because the old high school was in poor condition, all but the boys' gymnasium was torn down in 1930. The gym was cut in two, moved to the new high school on Maple Street and reassembled.

As early as May, 1933, Livermore citizens dreamed of turning the site into a park. Two months later the school district agreed to lease the site to the city for 99 years at an annual rate of $1 per year.

The city, along with such groups as the Livermore Lions Club, began drafting plans for a full-block municipal park in January, 1934. Thanks to $16,000 in Works Projects Administration (WPA) funds, Recreation Park, consisting of two concrete tennis courts, a baseball diamond and horseshoe courts, was dedicated on May 14, 1939.

World War II delayed dreams to add a recreation building until 1947 and the creation of a Community Chest Building Fund. Concurrently, the community was opting to move parks and recreation from a city department to its own district, an approval that was made on June 10, 1947.

In 1948 four local architects and engineers (Hollis Bascom, James Merritt, V.D. Black of Coast Manufacturing and Supply Co., and Arnold Abrott of Kaiser Co.) drew plans for the original recreation center, an 111-foot, 8-inches wide by 51-feet deep, U-shaped structure that included three club rooms, a kitchen, restrooms, an office, two storage rooms and a pergola-covered porch.

In January, 1949 Samuel Bothwell, a local builder/contractor since 1915, city councilman since 1932 and avid sportsman, was appointed to supervise the construction of the new building using donated materials, labor and services. He had been involved in numerous Works Projects Administration (WPA) projects throughout Livermore during The Depression and was known for efficient use of every square inch of materials.

The building permit was issued March 31, 1949. The keys to the new building were given to the Mayor Lewis Gardella on April 25, 1950. Nearly everyone in the community had had a hand in constructing the $40,000 building, including the local Lyons Club, and everyone from Livermore High School freshmen to steelworkers and laymen.

On April 11, 1952 the East Room of the community building was named for Samuel Bothwell who had died the previous month.

Efforts by the new Recreation District to buy the park and building hit a snag when lawyers determined the site was still owned by the school district, not the city. In January 1959 the Recreation District paid the high school district $33,000 for the property, its appraised value.

Through the years, LARPD has used the building as a district office, recreation center, senior center and general meeting site.