The "Lake Merritt Monster" sculpture in Oakland. (Photo courtesy of the city of Oakland)

Oakland recently dedicated the newly restored “Lake Merritt Monster” sculpture, a play structure with historical ties that dates back to the 1950s.

Also referred to as the “Mid-Century Monster,” the sculpture located in Lakeside Park was created in 1952 by California artist Robert Winston, who worked with other artists in the ’50s to merge modern design with children’s play structures.

The cover of Sly and the Family Stone’s 1968 album “Dance to the Music” was taken on Oakland’s “Lake Merritt Monster” sculpture.

The green sculpture, featured as the backdrop to the album cover for Sly and the Family Stone’s hit “Dance to the Music” in 1968, fell into disrepair and community groups rallied to save it.

The Lake Merritt Breakfast Club and a Facebook group called the Lake Merritt Mid-Century Monster Fan Club worked with the city of Oakland to restore the sculpture, starting in 2018. The work was completed this year.

“This project demonstrates the great things we can do when the community has the vision and dedication, and when our staff step up our commitment to real partnership with those community leaders,” Oakland Public Works Director Jason Mitchell said. “My deepest thanks and congratulations to everyone that made this possible.”

The Lake Merritt Monster has an identical twin in Modesto, and while there were once many such play structures across the country, few remain today.