This Friday, Live Oak County Park turns 100! To celebrate this milestone, we’re waiving day-use parking fees at the park for the entire weekend – Friday through Sunday, July 17 to 19, 2020.
Stop by for a stroll under the majestic old-growth oaks, a picnic at one of many alfresco dining tables, a distanced “doggie social hour” at the off-leash dog park – even a workout on the softball and soccer fields, or volleyball and basketball courts. The park is open from 8 a.m. to sunset, and is located at 2746 Reche Road, Fallbrook, CA 92028.
A larger centennial celebration featuring outdoor concerts, performances, games, interpretive programs and more will be held on a future date, once public health officials have deemed it safe due to COVID-19. Partners in this endeavor include the Live Oak Park Coalition, the Fallbrook Historical Society, and several non-profit organizations.
Over the past year, staff have been readying the park for its birthday party, adding benches, replacing walkways, installing exercise equipment, improving restrooms and restoring two concrete tables that date back to 1920. Additionally, and in partnership with the Fallbrook Save Our Forest Committee, volunteers and staff have planted 70 native trees and shrubs – with 30 more slated for fall, rounding out 100.
How did it all begin? Here’s a look at the park’s formal history:
In 1919, the Chamber of Commerce of Northern San Diego County, led by President Ben Thorpe, voted to formally establish a park at Fallbrook’s Reche Grove, in memory of George W. Houk. A past president of the Chamber and philanthropist, Houk helped finance the purchase of the first 7 acres of the park.
Denver O. Lamb and his wife Lucy also wanted to save the magnificent oak trees, so they deeded the land between the two creeks to the Northern Chamber of Commerce, expanding acreage to 10. The community then embarked on improvements; Denver O. Lamb and his son-in-law Eric Hindorff dug a well, installed a flagpole and built round concrete picnic tables modeled after tables they saw while visiting the Camp Cajon rest stop, 75 miles to the north.
Finally, on Saturday July 17, 1920 an official dedication was held with patriotic music, speeches, poetry, and flag-raising. Part of the dedication agenda included the adoption of a park name. Options included Houk Memorial, Reche Grove, Fallbrook Grove, El Encino, and Live Oak – the last unanimously voted in. The park has remained a cornerstone of the community and a well-known rest stop.
In the 1990s, the County partnered with the Live Oak Park Coalition to help care for the sprawling and bustling property.
In 2003, the circular concrete picnic tables, barbecues and registers received local historic designation.
Most recently, the park welcomed the addition of an off-leash dog park, and has served as a favorite for weddings and family reunions with six reservable picnic areas and an amphitheater.