Centennial Parkway Project
The Centennial Parkway project was conceived in 1970/1971, as a memorial to Morro Bay's year of centennial celebration. Through the work of local volunteers and a design by a Cal Poly architecture student, the unique Giant Chessboard and Centennial Stairway were opened to the public in 1975.
At the top of the Centennial Stairway flies the American flag, the California state flag, and the 13-starred American flag commemorating our nation's birth over 200 years ago. The Centennial Stairway (like the chess pieces) was constructed from recycled redwood and 2 dismantled water tanks, which had served the City for 50 years sitting atop Morro Bay Boulevard.
According to the United States Chess Federation, the only other outdoor chessboard in the United States is located in New York City. There are several other outdoor chessboards throughout Europe and 2 in Sydney, Australia.
In 1983, the Morro Bay Chess Club built chess tables and benches adjacent to the Giant Chessboard to enhance the chess play experience.
The Giant Chessboard is available for reservations, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., through the Morro Bay Recreation and Parks Department for a small fee. Visitors are always welcomed to join the Morro Bay Chess Club on Saturdays beginning at 12 noon. For more information contact us at 805-772-6278.