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Lake Temescal

Lake Temescal
a popular place to swim on hot days
Location Oakland, California
Type reservoir
Primary inflows Temescal Creek
Primary outflows Temescal Creek
Basin countries United States
Max. depth 20 ft (6.1 m)
Surface elevation 433 ft (132 m)

Lake Temescal is a small reservoir in the Berkeley Hills, in northeastern Oakland, California. It is the centerpiece of Temescal Regional Park (originally, Lake Temescal Regional Park). It is a part of the East Bay Regional Park District.


  • History 1
  • Present day function 2
  • See also 3
  • Notes 4
  • External links 5


The lake received its name from the stream which is its source, [1]

The shores of the lake were a popular camping spot with bohemian artists and writers in the late 1800s.[2] The British painter J.H.E. Partington lived here in a tent with his family when they arrived in Oakland in 1889.[3]

During the first half of the 20th century, the tracks of the Sacramento Northern Railroad ran along the eastern side of the lake. At that time, an electric train called the Comet crossed directly over the lake.[4]

In 1936, Lake Temescal opened to the public as one of the first three parks established by the East Bay Regional Park District. Its early amenities included a beach-like shore for swimming, a boathouse built by the WPA, a well established trail around the lake, and numerous picnic benches.

Present day function

The lake currently supports an artificial recreational beach and is stocked periodically with rainbow trout, largemouth bass, redear sunfish, bluegill, and catfish. The park is open to all visitors from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. and receives around 200,000 visitors a year.

The lake is constantly becoming shallower due to sediment runoff and must be periodically dredged. Today it is approximately 20 feet (6.1 m) at its deepest point;[5] previously it was 80 feet (24 m) deep.[6]

Since the dam crosses the Hayward fault, there is a possibility of dam failure in the event of an earthquake, which would cause serious flooding in parts of Oakland, Berkeley, and Emeryville. However, due to the additional fill placed between the dam and Highway 24, any hydraulic failure is now unlikely.

During the 1991 Oakland firestorm, water-equipped helicopters refilled at Lake Temescal, largely draining it.

The building is available for event rentals, such as weddings.

See also


  1. ^ a b Chinese Workers and the East Bay's Early Water Systems
  2. ^ Schenck, Marvin A. (1991). Maurice Logan, Artist and Designer. Retrieved on 2006-16-09.
  3. ^ Oakland Museum of California (March 9, 2002). Scene in Oakland.Exhibition label: Retrieved on 2006-16-09.
  4. ^ Mailman, Erika (2004). Images of America: Oakland Hills. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing. p. 21.  
  5. ^ Perry v. East Bay Regional Park Dist. (--- Cal.Rptr.3d ---, 2006 WL 1620299, Cal.App. 1 Dist., June 13, 2006).
  6. ^ Mailman, Erika (2004). Images of America: Oakland Hills. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing. p. 21.  

External links

  • EB Parks Information about Lake Temescal
  • Geology of Lake Temescal
  • U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Lake Temescal
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