J. Pearce MITCHELL Park
Location: 600 East Meadow Drive
Description: 21.4-acre district park that offers a wealth of active recreational opportunities.
Amenities: Great lawn, quarter-mile jogging/walking path, picnic areas with barbecues (two group), benches, seven lighted tennis courts, two paddle tennis courts, four handball courts, horseshoe pits, multipurpose bowl, children’s play areas (one with water play feature), a playground called the Magical Bridge the nations innovative inclusive playground, designed and built for visitors of ALL abilities, public art (Arch Cradle, Push, After the Fire), fenced dog run, restrooms, parking lot.
History Note: Mitchell Park received national and international acclaim when it opened in 1957. Designed by Robert Royston, it was a new kind of park, with a variety of recreational activities geared to people of all ages. The park map featured 29 activities that included above ground “gopher holes” and a miniature freeway system in the tiny tot area; a circular slab for roller skating; and designated areas for shuffleboard, bocce, tennis, and picnicking. Over the years the park’s glory faded as budgets became tight. Funds finally became available in the 1990s to upgrade Mitchell Park “infrastructure” and Mitchell Park amenities.
Mitchell Park is named for J. Pearce Mitchell, a Palo Alto City Councilman for 31 years and a two-term mayor. Mitchell was born in Rhode Island in 1880. He came to California in 1896 and earned a bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. from Stanford. For many years he was a Stanford professor of chemistry as well as Stanford Registrar. Mitchell died in Palo Alto in 1973.
Of Special Interest: In 1969, as part of Palo Alto’s 75th anniversary, El Palo Nuevo, a Sequoia Sempervirens, was planted in Mitchell Park as a companion tree to El Palo Alto. A plaque locates the site. Recently added is the Magical Bridge Playground the nation's most innovative inclusive playground, designed and built for visitors of ALL abilities. Opened in April of 2015, it is a new kind of playground - one, where everyone can play. (view video)What's Happening in the Park: Nothing at this time.