Lincoln Park


History of Lincoln Park – LA’s First Park

lincoln-parkFormally East Los Angeles Park, Eastside Park, & Eastlake Park (East Lake Park),
Lincoln Park has long been the recreational center of East Los Angeles.

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From humble beginnings, City Council created the Department of Parks in 1889. At that time the city owned several pieces of land that were believed suitable for park purposes. They turned over these properties to the newly organized Department of Parks. In a generous mood during Christmas of 1896, Colonel Griffith J. Griffith offered to donate five square miles of the Los Feliz Rancho to the City as a park. He said, “it must be made a place of recreation and rest for the masses, a resort for the rank and file, for the plain people…” What followed was the development of several more parks including the original pueblo lands of the old plaza, Elysian Park, Pershing Square, and later Lincoln Park, MacArthur Park, Echo Lake Park, and Hollenbeck Park.

While these parks were available in the early years of the 20th century, there were no planned and supervised recreation activities in the parks. Children were forced to find their play on public streets and vacant lots that were hardly suited for organized games. These conditions triggered a civic movement to officially establish a Playground Commission and Department. Their plan was “for the prevention and control of juvenile delinquency and to provide wholesome and constructive play and recreation for youth, in supervised playgrounds, as an alternative to play in the city streets.”

Today, the City’s Department of Recreation and Parks manages all municipally owned and operated recreation and parks facilities within the City and has been the human face of the City of Los Angeles. Rooted in the goals of our predecessors, we continue to bring people together to celebrate, to compete, to learn new skills, and to relax with family and friends.
(History of Recreation and Parks