Hap Magee Ranch Park
Author: Al Jarret
Hap Magee Ranch Park is a 17-acre park surrounded by a rural ambiance that is reminiscent of its rich history. The site originally served as a summer camp for San Francisco orphans beginning in 1874. It was called Camp Swain and owners Captain Isaac and Ann Trasker Swain built it as a warm place for the city children to stay and play during the damp San Francisco summers. One of the park’s drinking fountains memorializes the days of Camp Swain with a plaque that depicts children playing.
The park was purchased by a local cattle rancher, Hap Magee and his wife Ruth, in the mid-1950s. The Magees raised longhorn steer on the property and hosted small rodeos that were open to the public. Hap Magee was also an avid collector of branding irons, boasting more than 3,000 in his collection. A barn façade at the entrance to the park commemorates the Magee’s ranching history.
Today, the park is open to the public for recreational use and is a favorite spot for families to enjoy some fun. Children will enjoy the elaborate play areas, including one that pays homage to the Magees with its ranch theme. The play structure includes a water feature that allows kids to play within its metal tubes and tunnels while getting sprayed down by various fountains. There are separate play areas for younger children as well, and a sand volleyball court is also available for use. Walking trails wind their way throughout the expansive park and picnic areas are set up as well.
Hap Magee Ranch Park has its own dog park known as Canine Corral, a 1.5-acre leash free area where dogs can run and play in the open grass. There are separate areas designated for large and small dogs. Benches are available for dog owners and there is a water feature to keep dogs cool during hot summer days as this area of the park provides minimal shade.
Hap Magee Ranch Park embraces its rich Western history from the more modern days of the Magee longhorn ranch all the way back to the 18th and 19th centuries when the site was Indian Territory. Historical buildings still stand within the park to commemorate these times, including an old branding iron house.