Daly City - The $1.5 million
renovation of the five-acre, tri-level Marchbank
Park, its first makeover in 30 years, is now
complete. This Saturday, June 15th, Daly City
will re-open the park, located off Junipero
Serra Boulevard in the Original Daly City neighborhood
and next to the new Pacific Plaza development.
Starting at 9:30 a.m. on the upper level amphitheater
area, city officials, community supporters and
residents will gather for the official rededication
ceremony. A walking tour of the park, which
is bounded by North Parkview Avenue and South
Parkview Avenue, will culminate with Mayor Michael
Guingona throwing the "first pitch"
from the mound at the new baseball field on
the lower level of the park.
"Marchbank Park's fresh look melds well
with Pacific Plaza, its new neighbor. The spacious
baseball field, upgraded walking trails, new
play equipment and three reconfigured basketball
courts are examples of what this fully-refurbished
recreational site now offers," cited Mayor
"Marchbank Park, some would say, represents
the early years of Daly City. Pacific Plaza,
to others, plays a pivotal role in the city's
future. To be at the juncture of Daly City's
past and future has historical significance.
It is a milestone many of us will be recounting
years, even decades, from today," Guingona
PARK: The Early Years and JOHN W. MARCHBANK
According to Daly City's historians, Ken and
Bunny Gillespie, the site now known as Marchbank
Park was where rancher J. G. Knowles grazed
dairy cattle in the 1850s. The westerly side
of the property was then called Knowles' Gulch.
At the center of it was a pond, formed from
the San Bruno Mountain water run-off.
In 1886, Knowles established the region's first
commercial fishpond. Aside from fishermen, skinny-dippers
also frequented the site, much to the delight
of passengers aboard the trains on the adjacent
Southern Pacific Railroad.
After the 1906 earthquake, the natural springs
were diverted, eventually drying up the pond.
Ranchers soon left the area. Settlers moved
in, and named the site Vista Grande. With views
of the Pacific Ocean and breathtaking western
sunsets, the pond area became Vista Grande Park.
Neighbors built a large wooden dance floor on
the grassy glade. Thereafter, picnics, ball
games, civic celebrations, carnivals, family
gatherings and school outings were held there
In 1905, John William Marchbank came to Daly
City, and used his sizable fortune (acquired
from operating saloons and gambling establishments
in the 1897 Klondike gold rush) to purchase
the Knowles' ranch. In 1919, Marchbank deeded
the 7.7-acre property for only $10 (a legality)
to the City of Daly City, which was incorporated
In June 1941, the park was dedicated, and re-named
Marchbank Park, in honor of the local benefactor's
Over the years, the 4,700 evergreen trees planted
in 1941 grew in abundance, providing shelter
and beauty for countless activities in the park.
In 1992, the Pepsi Cola Company donated $15,000
worth of play equipment for children.
on JOHN W. MARCHBANK
the book Gateway to the Peninsula, Samuel
Chandler, Daly City's Librarian in 1973, wrote
that after World War I, Marchbank reportedly
purchased the Tanforan Race Track. He also acquired
the Daly City Record newspaper, and served as
its publisher for many years. Aside from the
park, Marchbank contributed heavily to the City's
public library. During the Great Depression,
he "clothed and fed" many local families,
and saved many homes from foreclosure, according
MARCHBANK PARK: The $1.5 Million Capital
April 2001, the City Council of Daly City voted
unanimously to allocate $1.5 million to renovate
and upgrade Marchbank Park, its first major
makeover in nearly 30 years. About $1 million
of the project was funded from the Community
Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, which
are federal entitlement dollars that Daly City
receives from the U.S. Department of Housing
and Urban Development (HUD).
Zolman Construction and Development, Inc. of
San Carlos was awarded the two-phase construction
project, which began May 2001. Royston Hanamoto
Alley & Alley, a Mill Valley-based firm,
completed the design plans and construction
bid documents for the project, which is part
of the City's $40 million five-year capital
improvements program. Ecocrete, Inc. of Chula
Vista was the contractor for the park's clubhouse.
The Marchbank Park construction project was
divided in two phases. Phase one focused on
the lower level upgrades that included a new
pre-fabricated building which houses the concession
stand, storage room, and restroom facility.
A new electronic scoreboard was installed, and
improvements for added comfort were made to
the existing seating area and bleachers. The
field renovation included better outfield drainage,
new decomposed granite pathways, landscaping
and irrigation. Completion date was October
The project's Phase two was at the upper and
mid levels. At the eastern tip of Marchbank
Park is a new pre-fabricated clubhouse (which
replaced an 80-year-old structure), complete
with a kitchen, multi-purpose room and office,
and restrooms. The area also has three new reconfigured
basketball courts, a tetherball court and amphitheater
seating, as well as new landscaping and irrigation
The middle level is comprised of a new picnic
area with barbeque tables, play equipment, improved
irrigation system, and a new ADA ramp access
from North Parkview Avenue. Work was completed
early June 2002.