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John Hinkel Park, located in a beautiful hillside oak grove offers a range of recreational opportunities as well as an amphitheater for outdoor performances.
- Off-street Parking
- Picnic Area
- School-age Play Area
- Walking/Biking Trails
The park was built on land donated to the City of Berkeley by John Hinkel, a local capitalist and philanthropist who lived on Channing Way in Berkeley and died in 1926. It was dedicated for park purposes in 1918.
The site was the home of the John Hinkel Clubhouse. Between 1895-1915, Berkeley established itself as a city with distinctive architectural character and the clubhouse was one of the few publicly owned tributes to that achievement. The Clubhouse was a pre-1920’s, 2,400 sq. ft., 2-story wood frame building with significant architectural merit due to its use of brown wooden shingles. From 1919-1934, the use of the brown shingles was more popular in Berkeley than anywhere else nation-wide, and the city became known for them. The clubhouse was used for dance classes with Berkeley Folk Dancers, classes in theater, and storage for the local Shakespeare festival up until 1991. The Clubhouse was demolished in 2015 after a fire critically damaged the building on January 16, 2015.
The stage and amphitheater were used in the 1940’s for community gatherings, music and dance productions. In the 50’s and 60’s it was used for music and folk dances, barbershop quartets and piano, and by the Berkeley Shakespeare Festival from 1971-1991. Today, it remains available for rental.