Projects & Supporters
Over the years, LMBC has supported many projects benefitting Lake Merritt and Lakeside Park.
Necklace of Lights
Task Force 2021
Keeping the Necklace of Lights beautiful takes work, and LMBC is stepping up to the plate to team with the City of Oakland in helping maintain the beauty of the lampposts we worked so hard to put into place. Sticker and graffiti removal, cleaning, and even repainting the bases of the poles are part of the ongoing work commitment of LMBC.
Our LMBC task force work parties will be trained in best practices and supplied with all they need to help keep our jewel of the City glowing with sparkling pride. Not a member of LMBC? Don't let that stop you! Sign up to join us on this project, and learn about the fellowship and fun that are an integral part of the LMBC.
Generosity - Dedication - Community
The generosity of our Lake Merritt Breakfast Club members and community supporters is inspiring and makes a marked, positive difference to our beautiful city.
Necklace of Lights Task Force
2021 Committee Members:
Sarah Kidder, LMBC Vice President
Billy Wilkes, LMBC President
Ongoing & Past Projects
In 1948 a farsighted Oakland nursery businessman and LMBC member, Arthur Navlet, saw an opportunity. He took the idea for a storybook theme park to his fellow the Lake Merritt Breakfast Club members outlining his vision: fairytale and storybook sets that young children could play on "and become part of", gentle farm and domestic animals, and live entertainment for the whole family. Galvanized by Navlet's presentation, the club members brought this proposal to Oakland's parks superintendent, William Penn Mott, Jr. (Mott would later be appointed the director of the national park service under President Reagan.) With Mott's support, the LMBC and the residents of Oakland raised $50,000 - then a huge sum for such a project - to build Children's Fairyland.
Since 1950, Children's Fairyland has been delighting children and their parents with whimsical storybook sets, gentle rides, friendly animals, wonder-filled puppet shows, and inspired live entertainment. Thanks to our many club members and successful fundraisers, the park is still going strong. Children’s Fairyland consists of nearly 40 storybook themed sets, rides, animals, and 10 acres of gardens. Children’s Fairyland continues to delight visitors of all ages.
To learn more about Children’s Fairyland visit www.fairyland.org
Necklace of Lights Renovation
In the 1980s, the LMBC and LMBC Charitable Foundation raised over $1.3 million for the restoration of the landmark, "Necklace of Lights" surrounding Lake Merritt. Lake Merritt, known as the "Jewel of Oakland," spans 155 acres in downtown Oakland, CA. Surrounded by parks and neighborhoods, Lake Merritt is a popular attraction for residents and visitors. From dusk to dawn, the Necklace of Lights continues to create an inviting atmosphere where thousands of people enjoy boating, sailing, walking, jogging, biking, strolling, and gondola rides. In 1925, the "Necklace of Lights," stretching 3.4 miles and featuring 126 lampposts and more than 4,000 lightbulbs, first illuminated the lake. The lights went dark in 1941 to comply with World War II blackout conditions. After a decade-long campaign by the Lake Merritt Breakfast Club and the Lake Merritt Breakfast Club Charitable Foundation to relight the lake, the Necklace of Lights and it's 176 lamp posts, was once again illuminated in 1987.
Mid-Century Monster Renovation
What is a community landmark with mythical mysteries? Every lake could use a “monster”, and Oakland has its very own. In the 1950’s Oakland Parks Superintendent, William Penn Mott, saw an intriguing piece of free-form jewelry, designed by Bob Winston, a jewelry designer and artist. Winston was on the faculty of the California College of Arts and Crafts and Mott contacted him to see if a structure could be made that would have the same freedom of design, only on a grand scale. Mott envisioned a creation that would bring the experience of climbing on an old tree or on eroded rocks to urban children. In 1954 the 40-foot sculpture was installed in Lakeside Park. The “monster” moniker was coined by Winston in light of the scale and size of the structure. Through the ensuing years, generations of children visited and played on the Monster. In 1968 it even attracted the band Sly & The Family Stone to use the structure as a cover photo on their album, Dance To The Music. After years of weathering and wear and tear the Monster became a marred and broken structure, sorely in need of renovation. The Lake Merritt Breakfast Club Charitable Foundation joined with the Mid-Century Monster Fan Club and the Tagami Development Group to restore this treasured Lake Merritt Monster. July 2019 marked the big reveal of the newly renovated Monster which visitors once again climb and admire.
Monthly Fairyland Work Parties (ongoing)
LMBC membership participation in ongoing work parties (and by ongoing, we mean decades of help) are a part of the non-breakfast fun that LMBCers partake in as a group.