Considering that the Carmichael Recreation and Park District was organized on Oct. 29, 1945, many people grew up enjoying the district’s parks and many program offerings.
In celebration of the district’s dedication to enhancing the lives of people in the community, this article presents some details of the past that provide a bit of a stroll down memory lane.
Carmichael Park was first
CARMICHAEL PARK has been the site of community programs and activities for many decades. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Lance Armstrong
The first of the district’s 14 park sites to be established was Carmichael Park at 5750 Grant Ave., where the district’s office is located. This park, which was not as large during its earliest years as it is today, is the anchor park or “Central Park” of the district.
Since Carmichael Park is district’s oldest park, much of the earliest history of the district consists of information about this park.
Del Campo Park, others established
It was not until 1971 that the district added its second park, Del Campo Park in Fair Oaks – some 26 years later.
The district’s other park sites include: the Carmichael sites, Capra Park site at 6600 Kenneth Ave., Cardinal Oaks Park on El Camino Avenue, near Garfield Avenue, Garfield site at 8516 Fair Oaks Blvd., Glancy Oaks Park at 5292 Glancy Drive, Jan Park at 4310 Jan Drive, Charles C. Jensen Botanical Garden at 8520 Fair Oaks Blvd., La Sierra Community Center at 5325 Engle Road, O’Donnell Heritage Park at 6618 Rappahannock Way, Schweitzer Grove Park at Sumter and Hussey drives, and Sutter Avenue Park site near Sutter and Hollister avenues.
The remaining park sites, which are located in Fair Oaks, are Bird Track Park on Pheasant Road and Patriots Park at 6827 Palm Ave.
Many readers of this publication who are longtime residents of the Carmichael area will find the following local park happenings of the past to be of added interest due to familiar names and other recognized details.
Through researching old newspaper articles, fliers and other information, one can obtain a better understanding of the evolution of the district through its activities.
Fortunately, the district has a fairly large collection of these items that were made available for this article.
The following information regarding Carmichael Park was mainly compiled from sources from the 1970s, since this was the earliest heavily archived materials that were presented for this article.
Rock out in 1969
The Sacramento Bee announced on May 13, 1969 that a free rock ‘n’ roll concert at the park was approved by the park board. However, due to complaints from area residents regarding the park’s previous free rock concert, which drew about 800 people, the scheduled concert would be the last rock concert held at Carmichael Park.
The article noted that La Sierra High School student Mike Parise, who had organized earlier rock concerts at the park, presented the board with 11,000 signatures of those in favor of the free rock concerts.
Another popular concert was held on July 13, 1969, when an estimated crowd of 300 persons attended a three-hour folk concert, which was performed at the Danny Bishop Memorial Grandstand.
Musicians featured at the concert included Mark Hansen, Skip Moriarty, Harold Cherney and Tom Messina.
When it comes to sports at Carmichael Park, many locals are familiar with the longtime existence of the Carmichael Beavers Swim Team.
The Carmichael Courier, a community newspaper at the time, printed the results of the July 19, 1969 meet, in which the Carmichael team defeated the Dixon team, 272-231.
Top scorers for the Beavers were Janet Sirlin, Lloyd Zeigler, Joanne Spalding, Susan Stein and Jim Hewins.
Junior Tennis Club
In its Dec. 2, 1971 edition, The Courier referred to the “newly formed Carmichael Junior Tennis Club,” which competed in a “turkey tournament” at Carmichael Park.
The tournament’s winners were Richard Black and Cathy Pope, first place, and Tina Morandi and Ron Dormeyer, runners up. Other members of the club were Eugenie Pueyo, Reid Bellis, Joanne Williams and Ivor McVarish.
The San Juan Record announced on Oct. 18, 1972 that a hunting safety training course for children and adults would be held in three days at the park’s Community Clubhouse.
First Founders’ Day
An editorial in the Nov. 2, 1972 issue referred to Carmichael’s first Founders Day, which was said to be a well coordinated and planned event.
Continuing, the editorial included the following assessment: “The event was something to build upon for another year and it fills a void in Carmichael, giving the residents a bit of history and tradition and a chance to gather together.”
An active community
LOCAL HISTORY ARCHIVED. This 1971 Carmichael Beavers Swim Team newspaper is among the archived items on file with the Carmichael Recreation and Park District. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Lance Armstrong
Other activities and classes offered at Carmichael Park that were held at the park during the 1970s – although not necessarily specific to the decade only – included: yoga courses, various dance classes, square dance evenings by the pool, minibike programs and events, Carmichael Garden Club meetings in the park’s garden house, guitar classes in the park’s Veterans Memorial Building, Easter egg hunts, art fairs, fireworks shows, day camps for youth, a tiny tots program, Senior Citizen Club meetings, “slim and trim” classes ($4 for 10 lessons), a bridge class, bicycle repair classes, first aid classes, performances by the Carmichael Symphonic Band, baseball and softball tournaments and tennis classes.
Tennis was a sport that received early attention during the decade, as new, double-lighted courts were under construction by A. Teichert and Son in the spring of 1970. Teichert bid $14,884 for the project.
Although the majority of the oldest articles and other materials made available by the district for this project were from the 1970s, the district has continued to expand upon and enhance its programs throughout the years.
Quality activities continue
Elizabeth Crisante, recreation supervisor for the district, acknowledged the district’s continual efforts to offer quality events and activities for the community.
“The Carmichael Recreation and Park District exists for the purpose of providing for the leisure and recreation pursuits of our residents,” Crisante said. “Over the course of our history, the district has strived to offer the highest quality events and programs possible.
“Many of our unique programs include a Day at the Circus, Shades of Carmichael and more recently, princess parties and our Summer Concerts in the Park series. Our old stand bys include the annual Easter egg hunt, the 4th of July celebration and the Founders Day Celebration. We would like to continue to stay on the cutting edge of programming by being cognizant of our community’s needs.”