Memorial Park (Jacksonville)

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Memorial Park
MemParkJaxShade.jpg
Type Municipal (Parks & Recreation Department)
Location Jacksonville, Florida
Coordinates 30°19′45″N 81°39′33″W / 30.32917°N 81.65917°W / 30.32917; -81.65917
Area 5.85 acres (23,700 m2)
Created 1919
Operated by City of Jacksonville
Status Open all year

Memorial Park is a 5.85-acre (23,700 m2) public park, located on the St. Johns River in Riverside, one of the most historic neighborhoods near downtown Jacksonville, Florida. It is the third oldest park in the city.[1]

History[edit]

Memorial Park is situated on the north bank of the St. Johns River, bounded by Riverside Avenue. Shortly after World War I ended, the Rotary Club of Jacksonville suggested building a park in honor of the 1,200 Floridians who died in the conflict, and the following year, the City acquired the land.[2]

Pillar's bronze sculpture, "Life"

The park project was embraced by Jacksonville residents, and 31 civic groups were involved in raising money and planning. The Olmsted Brothers were commissioned to design the park. The firm also laid out the Biltmore Estate, several National Parks and numerous college campuses. They worked with local architect, Roy A. Benjamin.

The bronze sculpture, 'Life' is showcased, and was created by Charles Adrian Pillars, a First Coast resident for over a quarter century. Pillars was also responsible for the two works of art from Florida at the National Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C.. The park, completed in 1924 and dedicated on Christmas Day, became Riverside's most popular location.

New bronze eagle sculptures

The Memorial Park Association (MPA) was founded in 1986 by Anne Freeman, and has worked to preserve the park for over a quarter century. High winds uprooted and toppled many trees in 1997, but city employees and MPA volunteers worked together to restore the park. Two 48" tall eagles, each sculpted in bronze, were donated by the MPA and dedicated on May 29, 2011. Their design was based on photographs of concrete statues originally installed when the park was opened. The artist was local sculptor, Diane LaFond Insetta.[3]

Current use[edit]

Despite the loss of many trees in 1997, the area along the riverfront still provides welcome shade for people fishing, jogging, pushing a stroller, or just sitting on a bench and reading.[1][2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Memorial Park". City of Jacksonville. Retrieved 10 October 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Davis, Ennis. "Urban Parks: Memorial Park". June 23, 2008. Metro Jacksonville. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  3. ^ Bauerlein, David (May 30, 2011). "Eagle statues now on guard at Memorial Park in Jacksonville". Florida Times-Union. Retrieved 10 October 2012. 

External links[edit]