The park is in proximity to Loring Park and the Basilica of Saint Mary. The land was first purchased by the park board around the start of the 20th century, when it was known as "The Parade" because it had been used for military drills. It became known as the Armory Gardens after park superintendent Theodore Wirth created a formal design that included a U.S. National Guard armory (Kenwood Armory) for Spanish War Volunteers. Working as a civic and cultural center, in 1913 a floral convention transformed the land into floral gardens, which it remained for the next 50 years. In 1934, six years after the Walker Art Gallery opened across the street, the Armory was demolished for its instability, and a new Armory built in downtown Minneapolis, turning the Armory Gardens over to the Minneapolis Park Board. Since 1908, the area of today's Sculpture Garden and land to the west had been used for sport recreation via mildly-improved playing fields and the 1950 construction of the original Parade Stadium (demolished in 1990). In 1988, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden opened, designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes and landscape architects Quinnel and Rothschild. In 1992, the Garden was expanded, adding 3½ acres. Michael Van Valkenburgh and Associates, Inc. designed the northward extension to complement the original space with a more open area that features a walkway and the 300-foot-long Alene Grossman Memorial Arbor.