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The remodeled Dunphy Park in 2021. The “building” behind the gazebo is the Sausalito Cruising Club’s floating event space. The bay and a series of boats moored to a pier are at the far right.
Bridgeway between Napa St. and Litho St., Sausalito CA 94965 (See Map Below)
Neighborhood: Caledonia St. and New Town. Free parking in lot, metered and free street nearby.
Dunphy Park is adjacent to the Bay and runs along Bridgeway. In addition to the shoreline, it has a beautiful white gazebo that is a popular wedding and photo spot (rented through Sausalito’s Park and Rec Department), a wide expanse of grass, a sand volleyball pit and a bocce ball court. A small “beach” is adjacent to San Francisco Bay at the edge of the Park, but attempts to add sand there have been unsuccessful and the footing can only be described as muddy.
Two adjacent parcels were purchased in 2003 to prevent their being built on by developers. Dunphy Park just went through a major renovation from 2018-21, reopening just in time for the pandemic in 2020, as the final stages of the project were still under construction. All toxic soil from the old trash burning site has been removed from the park, and the last of it (stored nearby) will be trucked off in 2021.
The Farmers Market, now defunct, was held here, and it’s the site of the annual Christmas tree lot and the City’s 4th of July picnic.
A photo of Dunphy Park prior to the big remodel, from about 2010
From December, 2018 to mid-2021 the city of Sausalito undertook a major redesign and upgrade of Dunphy Park, keeping its signature gazebo but updating its look and bocce ball areas. Most of the work was completed by the summer of 2019, that remodel produced some unusual materials buried beneath the surface of the park, including a previously undiscovered length of old railroad tracks and a large amount of highly toxic soil.
For the 25 years before 1970 this parcel of land at the southern edge of the former World War II Marinship Shipyards was informally used as Sausalito’s town dump, with selected refuse being burned as a method of disposal. Northern Sausalito at that time had other pungent smells at low tide (given all the boats anchored there with no sanitary pump-out activity), so the standards for air quality were different back in the day.
In the early 1970s a developer proposed cleaning up the area and building a big apartment complex, igniting a wave of opposition from local residents. Sausalito voters went to the polls and approved a $560,000 bond to buy the land and create Dunphy Park. Volunteers designed the Park and contributed most of the labor for its construction, limiting the cash outlay to only about $50,000. The Park was officially opened in 1972.