Goethe Park Signs Replaced

The last remaining signs of Charles M. Goethe are being replaced in Rancho Cordova this week. While the name change was voted on and approved earlier this year, proper signage has not been completed.  Charles M. Goethe donated land for the park and left his $24 million estate to CSU Sacramento, which he founded in 1947. Community members began pushing for a name change, as they believed the nod to the late eugenicist and Nazi follower did not represent the general feeling of the community. The name change was approved in late 2007. River Bend Park, as the former Goethe Park shall now be called, courses over 444 acres of land along the American River near Bradshaw and Folsom Blvd. The signs along Folsom Blvd. directing traffic to the park will be changed by the City of Rancho Cordova and the sign at the park entrance will be changed by Sacramento County. CalTrans will complete the sign swap along Highway 50 in the next few months.

River Bend won the online park renaming contest in April of this year. Other contenders included Leidesdorff Park- after a prominent Californian pioneer, Willow Bar Park- after the gravel bar in the park that grows willow trees, and Live Oak Park- because of the abundance of live oaks. River Bend received 42% of the 870 votes.

River Bend Park is one of the oldest and busiest in Sacramento County. The park hosts a variety of activities including Boy and Girl Scout camps and numerous private events, including baptisms. The park also encourages picnicking, kayaking, rafting, and animal watching. There are numerous family friendly hiking trails, biking trails and even horse trails. The park is open year round from sunrise to sunset. Entrance fees vary by vehicle.

Last year, C.M. Goethe Middle School was renamed Rosa Parks Middle School by the Sacramento Unified School District.

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Posted by Michelle Ventress on Aug 4 2008. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Comments for “Goethe Park Signs Replaced”

  1. Ken

    The argument given to rename the park was weak at best, but of course the county supervisors went along with it because it seemed like the right thing to do. The only problem with that is that almost no one but the activist group Sacramento Area Congregations Together cared about C.M. Goethe or his history. I have closely followed the discussions of whether his name should be associated with public places. Oddly, there has been little, if any, mention of the real reasons his name was given to such places other than the fact that he provided funding. He dedicated his life to the cause of preserving nature for public enjoyment and appreciation. He is the founder of Sacramento State University and donated nearly all of his vast wealth to both education and preserving nature. I am not going to try and defend eugenics but I do not believe that Goethe was a racist any more than anyone who advocates specifically for their particular culture or race. By the way, the estimated cost of renaming Goethe Park was $30K. Is this fiscally sound thinking for a park system that is incredibly strapped for cash? I think not.

  2. Michelle Ventress

    @ Ken
    I understand your concerns. It does make one wonder where the sign changing will stop, especially since there might not be the finances to afford such elaborate changes. There is a Goethe Road that crosses Bradshaw- I wonder if it’s next.

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