Description: 19-acre multipurpose park offers a variety of recreational activities among treasured live oaks and majestic redwoods. Home of Palo Alto’s municipal swimming pool. On the north side of the park is the Lucie Stern Community Center and the Junior Museum and Zoo.
Amenities: Open grassy areas, two children’s playgrounds, nine tennis courts (6 with lights), backboard, picnic areas with barbecues (1 group area), municipal swimming pool (lap and recreational) and children’s pool, redwood grove, multipurpose concrete bowl, benches, jogging/walking path, and public restrooms. Near the park you will find the community theater, children’s theater, community meeting rooms, Girl Scout House, and Junior Museum and Zoo
History: Rinconada is Palo Alto’s second oldest park (after El Camino). Established in 1922, it was originally called Waterworks after a nearby well and reservoir. Two years later it was renamed Rinconada (Spanish for corner) through a contest sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. (Rinconada was taken from Rancho Rinconada del Arroyo de San Francisquito, the Spanish land grant that Palo Alto was part of.)
In the 1930s, Lucie Stern (widow of Louis Stern who was a nephew of Levi Stauss) and her daughter Ruth gifted the city with money to build what would be the Lucie Stern Community Center. Lucie’s donation was for a community theater and a children’s theater; Ruth’s for an administrative wing. Ruth also made the large swimming pool possible.
Of Special Interest: The Magic Forest, a magnificent stand of redwoods, fronts on Hopkins Street. It was dedicated in 1971 in memory of Edith Ellery Patton (1877-1970), a teacher at Walter Hays School. Miss Patton would read to her students in the shade of the tall trees.
A Coast Live Oak, over 200 years old, is on the Embarcadero side of the park. It was dedicated as Heritage Tree No 2 in 1994, Palo Alto’s Centennial year.
Rinconada Park is home to the Rinconada Masters Swim Team and the Palo Alto Swim Club.