Memorial Park lies nestled between Riverside Avenue and the St. Johns River. In 1918, the Jacksonville Rotary Club proposed the idea for a park to honor the 1200 Floridians who perished in WWI, and the City purchased the property in 1919. Thirty-one civic groups worked in planning and raising funds for the park, which was dedicated Christmas Day, 1924. The park soon became the scenic focal point of Riverside. Designed by the renowned Olmsted Brothers firm, the park features the bronze sculpture Life, created by the celebrated Charles Adrian Pillars (1870-1937). A local resident for 26 years, he also created Florida’s two statues residing in National Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. In 1986, Anne Freeman founded the Memorial Park Association, which along with the City has worked steadfastly to restore and preserve this historic landmark, particularly after a tornado devastated the grounds in 1997.
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