Victory Memorial Parkway

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The greenway boulevard of Victory Memorial Parkway

Victory Memorial Parkway (or, Victory Memorial Drive) is a section of the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States. The parkway runs along the northwestern and northern boundaries of the Camden community. The Victory neighborhood in Camden derives its name from this parkway. Trees and memorials located throughout the parkway were established to honor the memory of the servicemen of Hennepin County. A statue of Abraham Lincoln, flanked by flowering trees, greets visitors passing along the northwestern curve of the parkway. A wide central boulevard provides a recreational park that sees much activity during the warm seasons.

Lincoln's statue stands watch over the parkway

The Victory Memorial Parkway also provides access to the Mississippi River and a beautiful shoreline. People sometimes come here to watch barges as they begin their navigation down the Mississippi. The North Mississippi Regional Park and Shingle Creek both offer opportunities for visitors to enjoy nature on the byway.

History[edit]

A street sign displays Victory Parkway's many scenic attractions

The Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board (MPRB) began acquiring land for the “Parkway” in 1910. The parkway was completed in 1921 and was dedicated as a memorial to servicemen and nurses from Minneapolis who died in World War I. The statue of Abraham Lincoln on 44th and Victory Memorial Drive was dedicated on May 25, 1930 by surviving members of the Grand Army of the Republic in honor of their comrades who gave their lives in the Civil War.

Victory Memorial Parkway WWI Monument

Various improvements have taken place since that time including the installation of the bicycle path (trail) in 1975. When the Metropolitan Council regional park system was created in 1974, the parkway along with other major parks in Minneapolis became part of the regional system. In 2003, the Minnesota Legislature passed a bill designating “Victory Memorial Drive” as a state historic district.

Over the years, the original monuments had fallen into disrepair and many of the hundreds of elm trees planted had died. Hennepin County and the State of Minnesota funded a $6.7 million project to repair the Parkway. Victory Memorial was rededicated in June, 2011. Improvements include new and refurbished monuments and memorials, including a restoration of the nearby Grand Army of the Republic Circle and a statue of Abraham Lincoln, and dozens of new trees and flower beds. Victory Drive itself was resurfaced with new asphalt.[1]

An annual 5 and 10K race is held during the first week of September along Victory Memorial Drive. The MDRA Victory Race is sponsored by the Minnesota Distance Running Association (MDRA) and will be in its 31st year in 2013.[2]

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