The Lake Cunningham – Eastridge Mall area was one of Santa Clara Valley's three permanent wetland complex called "lagunas". The area was called Laguna Secayre during the initial Euro-American settlement (1769–1850). Laguna Secayre covered a much larger area than Lake Cunningham Park does now.
The soil of the surrounding area is a heavy, dark clay; this indicates that the area was routinely flooded.[original research?]
Due to intense urbanization in the surrounding hill areas, the storm water that historically exited the canyons and percolated through the gravel below ground was channeled into pipes below the streets to Thompson Creek and Lake Cunningham. This has led to an increase in runoff during the winter storms.