Lake Merritt

merrittfromcemetery.jpgOn good days I can’t resist taking photos of Oakland from the high hill at Mountain View Cemetery. I usually regret it because my camera isn’t good enough, but three years and three days ago, this shot of Lake Merritt came out pretty nice. Lake Merritt used to be a tidal slough, until Dr. Samuel Merritt took it upon himself to build a dam and turn it into more of a proper lake. His mansion, among those of many other of Oakland’s early swells, surrounded the lake in the late 1800s.

Nowadays the lake is regulated with a better dam, but it’s still rather artificial. In 1870 it was named America’s first wildlife refuge. Its water is brackish, with salt content that fluctuates with the rainfall. This view looks across San Francisco Bay to the high hills of the San Mateo Peninsula, with the San Andreas fault at their feet.

4 Responses to “Lake Merritt”

  1. Ken Clark Says:

    now that IS a nice pic, good job

  2. Andrew Aldrich Says:

    I never understood the function of the dam. Water flows both ways through the slough, so what is the dam damming up?

  3. Andrew Says:

    Good question! In the winter when rain threatens, the dam can be raised at low tide to keep the lake low, so that it can handle floodwater.

  4. Andrew Aldrich Says:

    Oh, I see! Thank you. I wonder if it might come to be used during king tides to keep Lake Merritt shores from flooding.

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