Cooley Landing is East Palo’s newest park and a beautiful new education center is under construction that will soon be ready to welcome visitors. Those familiar with my artwork know I’m drawn to the human mark on the landscape and the rich history of Cooley Landing is all about human marks.
Cooley Landing's shoreline makes you feel like you’re in the bay.
From 1932 – 1960, Cooley Landing was a San Mateo County dump, with open burning of refuse. The artificial peninsula that exists today is made from the landfill at the dump. The toxic remnants of this activity, lead, mercury, PCBs contaminated the soil. In 2012 the park opened to the public after the soil was capped and safe public access was provided.
From 1960 – 1998, Mr. Carl Schoof owned the land and operated a boat building business, Palo Alto Boat Works. The historic dredge that the Schoofs lived in was burned in an arson fire in April 2008. The boat works building also burned in an arson fire in August 2013.
There are lovely patterns in the mud at low tide and the bay channels are visible as well, providing great inspiration for drawing and studying the tides and the mud flats.
When the tide is low, you can wander on the mud flats and if you look closely you will see tiny crabs (left) and the feeding siphons of clams buried in the mud (right).
There are good examples of both native (left: pickleweed) and non-native species (right: ice plant).
Everywhere you look you can find stark contrasts between the natural and human-made, such as this concrete and rebar next to the driftwood.
Architect’s rendering of the new educational center. It’s going to be beautiful