Who Painted Watermelon Rock?

It lives in Alameda but is beloved by many San Leandrans. Does anyone know how this landmark came to be?


A few weeks ago, Alameda Patch posted a photo on Facebook of watermelon rock, a man-made landmark at the Martin Luther King Regional Shoreline Park.

For decades, this icon has caught the attention of passersby on Doolittle Drive.

Mary McInerney of Alameda Magazine wrote about it back in March 2007 saying "the watermelon rock has been a fixture on the waterway between the Oakland International Airport and Alameda for at least 30 years now."

Along with its unique look, the rock has also drawn attention for mysteriously being repainted every so often.

The supervisor of the East Bay Regional Park District told McInerney she had no idea who repaints it. As it fades every few years, someone comes around and gives it a fresh coat, brightening up its "red fruit, black seeds and a blackish-greenish rind."

The beloved concrete fruit even has its own Facebook page with 70 followers.

However, not everyone is a fan.

McInerney reports that one summer, someone called the park district complaining about how the painted rock ruins the look of the shoreline. When the park district refused to remove it, the rock was then painted black.

Shortly after, it was changed to become citrus fruits such as a lemon and orange wedge. But it wasn't long before it was painted back to a melon slice.

The original Alameda Patch Facebook post drew over two hundred comments , including some that guessed how the rock came to be painted:

Patty N.: I think it must be a mermaid.

Julie B.: I'm told it's some fraternity or organization that has the responsibility (secretly) to maintain the upkeep of the rock.

Do you know the history of this famous fruit? Who painted it and keeps it fresh? What are you best memories of watermelon rock? Tell us in the comments section below.

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Joss H. November 14, 2012 at 02:50 AM
The Facebook page linked in the article says it was first painted by "Jennifer Deady" back in 1983.
xiaohui123 November 14, 2012 at 08:47 AM
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