Sacramento’s Southside Park neighborhood sits south of California’s state capitol and north of the Old City Cemetery. Built on a former slough, it was inhabited by generations of immigrants and working-class families. The neighborhood’s many ethnic communities, including Portuguese, Italian, Mexican, and Japanese, came together in Southside Park, the neighborhood’s namesake. Whether for fireworks displays on the Fourth of July, for a trip back to Gold Rush days at Roaring Camp, or simply to paddle the lake in a rented boat, Southside Park provided a place of respite and recreation in this bustling city. The neighborhood surrounding the park faced many challenges as Sacramento grew—including freeway
construction, urban renewal and redevelopment, and problems with crime—but its residents faced these challenges with a tradition of political activism, community participation, and a strong sense of civic pride that is still evident today.