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Monday, February 6, 2012

Venue Spotlight: Preservation Park in Oakland

In Downtown Oakland there is a really unique event facility available you would not expect to find called Preservation Park. It is really more like an intersection of two blocks than it is a park but they close off the streets during events which makes for one spectacular outdoor space.

Preservation Park is rich in history dating back to the 1870's when it was built as an upscale residential neighborhood of Victorian homes. However, it was basically forgotten by future redevelopment, nearly ruined by freeway construction and almost left for ruin in the 1970's. The City of Oakland teamed with private investors to rescue and renovate this historic site and today it flourishes as a center for nonprofit and small businesses with community and environmental concerns.

The Shafter Freeway (I-980) construction created a challenge but also an opportunity when they had to create a dead end on 13th Street. A new street within the complex was made called Preservation Park Way. This site map details the two blocks that converge at the fountain circle.

Preservation Park is by Martin Luther King Jr. Way and 12th St. Oakland

The park's focal point where the two blocks intersect is the historic Latham-Ducel Fountain. This cast iron fountain was forged in Paris and features the moon goddess, Diana. Most of the outdoor weddings and events take place right on the circle that surrounds this fountain.

Fountain and Federal Building in the background

Turning 180 degrees from this viewpoint of the fountain is the grandstand where their outdoor wedding ceremonies take place.

Grandstand with lawn seating for the guests at wedding ceremonies

For full outdoor weddings it is just a few steps from the ceremony grandstand to the circle around the fountain for the reception. Huge palm trees and beautifully manicured gardens really give this space a welcome feel.

There are sixteen historic buildings in the park with five of them standing in their original positions. The remaining eleven were moved from other locations in Oakland to avoid demolition. Details of each building can be found by clicking here. I visited Preservation Park on a Thursday so several cars lined the streets of the open businesses but I did manage to snap a couple of shots of the Victorian fronts. When all of these businesses are closed during a private event such as a wedding the choices of photo settings would be seemingly endless.

Another real plus to the Preservation Park venue is indoor space that is specifically designed for events. You get the vintage feel of Victorian mansions but with space that is logistically suited for large gatherings. One such craftsman style building is Nile Hall complete with a stage for the entertainment or the head table at a wedding.

Adjacent to and connected with the Nile Hall is the Ginn House. The combination of these two spaces create great flexibility in banquet space. Both large and small events can benefit from the many options these two spaces have to offer.

Ginn House front entrance

Needless to say my site inspection left me quite impressed with this unique setting. One of the best kept secrets in Oakland is the way many people describe it. To have your event on two whole blocks of classic Victorian homes is really special. It reminds me of Main Street in Disneyland but without all of the crowds. They also have a great arrangement with the City Center Garage so parking is no problem. For event information contact Barbara Ackerman at 510-874-7531 or on-line at events@preservationpark.com.


  1. We LOVE Preservation Park! It totally features the Beauty of Oakland! We are having our second Wedding there in October...Looking forward to working with Barbara as well...
    Small Thyme Catering

  2. One of my favorite places to work....so many excellent portrait opportunities!