Park Location
"Poplar Avenue/Soquel Avenue/Water Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95062", "36.981224", "-122.00782"
.15 acre.
(831) xxx-xxxx

Demonstration garden

Historical information signage

Walking Path

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This is El Portal Park. It was given that name in 1910, at the suggestion of the Santa Cruz Improvement Society, South Branciforte Division.  The name was chosen as  local residents considered the site to be an important “portal” or entry point into the city proper.  From 1921 to 1967, the park was the site of the Eastside Library, one of then 4 library branches in the city of Santa Cruz.  The library [designed by William Weeks] was constructed with funds donated by businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, who helped build thousands of such libraries around the country.  Alas, as business and residential development grew around the little library, parking and access to the building became increasingly difficult.  In 1967, the library was replaced by the Branciforte Library on nearby Gault St.  A year later the Eastside library building was demolished.  A fountain with cut off telegraph poles as ornaments was soon erected in the park.  The fountain became a frequent gathering point for local homeless and was an eyesore, so it was eventually town down.  The area remained a somewhat overgrown “Demonstration Garden” until 2014 when the city of Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation, under the direction of city Arborist Leslie Keedy, landscaped and beautified the park.  A year later, local residents, spearheaded by Dan Model, Eastside Neighborhood Historian, convinced the city to erect a historical marker for the Eastside Library and a sign to again identify the property as “El Portal Park.” 



A view of the original Eastside Library. There is a plaque on the park.

This was the site of one of four branches of the Santa Cruz Library System built from 1903 to 1921. The building was funded, in part, through a grant from businessman and philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie.

    The building, a craftsman style bungalow,
was designed by noted architect, William H. Weeks.

By the 1960's traffic and parking concerns made it increasingly difficult to access the location and a new library was commissioned.
    The Branciforte Library on Gault Street opened in 1967.

    A year later, the Eastside Library was demolished.

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