Eagles have Landed

                             The Development of

                            MEMORIAL PARK

                            Jacksonville, Florida

                            Designed by the Olmstead Brothers      

                            Brookline, Massachusetts

 November 12, 1918    Movement started by the Jacksonville Rotary Club to honor     

                                    Florida's 1,200 dead in World War L (Duval County, 108 whites  

                                   49 black victims). Idea was proposed by George W. Hardee,   

                                   Rotary President.

June , 1919              Jacksonville purchased a 6.1 acre tract on Riverside Avenue for a waterfront

                                 Memorial Park for $125,000. The land had already been bulkheaded along 

                                 the waterfront and filled by private parties by pumping in sand from the river.

1919- 1920                A Citizen Committee was appointed to work with the City in the  

                                  planning of the park to raise funds for the Memorial: 

                                                         Morgan V. Gress, Chairman 

                                                         George W. Hardee, Vice Chairman 

                                                         Mrs. Arthur G. Cummer, Treasurer                 

                                                         Miss Edith Gray and

                                                         Mrs. McGarvey Cline, Secretaries

1920                      The Citizens Committee selected Charles Adrian Pillars, St. Augustine, 

                              as the sculptor for a bronze memorial statue which would be the focal 

                              point of the park. Pillar's idea was to depict the struggle of life and 

                              its  subsequent victory. The Committee raised $52,000. for the statue and park.

1921-1922            The nationally famous Olmsted Brothers of Brookline, Massa­chusetts 

                             designed the park. James Frederic Dawson, a member of the Olmsted firm,

                            worked with the Jacksonville Committee. The Olmsted plans were slightly 

                            revised by Roy Benjamin, Jacksonville architect who designed the Florida


 Spring 1922        Pillars submitted sketches of bronze statue to Olmsted.

October 1922      Preliminary improvements of park began. Soil was hauled in to raise the   

                            level and furnish a place for planting. Oak trees were planted.

1923 - 1924        Walks were laid, and the Memorial gates built during the winter months. 

December 25, 1924     Memorial statue "Life" and Park were dedicated to Florida's dead              

                                    in World War I. Sealed in the cornerstone are parchments upon        

                                    which were written the names of the 1,200        

                                    Floridians who died in the conflict. Statue was unveiled by  

                                    two little girls, Mary Burroughs and Mary Bedell. (A 4-year 

                                    effort by Pillars, a 6-year effort by Citizens Committee).

1926                            First set of eagles made of concrete/coquina were installed. 

March 22,1985           Memorial Park was listed in the National Register of Historic 

                                   sites. It is recognized as a National Register Property.

December 9,1986       Memorial Park Association, Inc. organized to promote the  

                                   preservation and restoration of this valuable City landmark 


March 23, 1987          Memorial Park Association, Inc. entered into an agreement with

                                   Jacksonville's Department of Recreation under the City's Adopt-A          

                                   Park Ordinance.

January, 1988            Memorial Park Association received a $5,000.00 matching grant 

                                  from Florida's Historic Advisory Council for restoration plans for the    

                                  Park. This job was undertaken by BHR Plan­ning Group, 

                                  Jacksonville. Two landscape architects, C. James King and Marty

                                  Child participated in the design following the original Olmsted


January , 1992          The Association received a second matching grant for $37,000.00 

                                  from Florida's Historic Advisory council to restore and preserve 

                                  Adrian Pillar's bronze statue "Life", the focal spot of the park. The

                                 work was done by Washington Uni­versity Technology Associates, St. 

                                  Louis, Missouri. A fence was installed on the Memorial park Drive       

                                  and Margaret Street Frontage of the Park.

1993-1994                The entrance gates were rebuilt following the original Olmsted         

                                 design. This restoration was a gift in memory of William Randle 

                                 Barnett by his wife and children. Mr. and Mrs. Walter McRae, Mr.

                                 and Mrs. Albert Ernest, and Mrs. Martin Stein completed the fence 

                                 along Riverside Avenue in memory of Guy Botts. Councilwoman 

                                 Ginny Myrick supplied funds to upgrade lighting in the park, repair

                                 the sprinkler system, some architectural repairs, and landscape the

                                 Riverside Avenue frontage.

1994                        The Memorial Park Association was honored by the Jackson­ville

                                Landmarks Commission for its revitalization of the Park. 

1995                                  Three marble benches, copies of the original benches,         

                                          were given to the Park. One in memory of Harlow        

                                          Barnett by his wife, one in memory of Jaquelin J. 

                                          Daniel by his wife, one in memory of Mrs. John A.          

                                          Gilliland's parents, Mr. and Mrs. W. M. McCrory, and

                                          grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Franklin Russell, by Mrs.  


1996                                  Mrs. Judson Freeman gave architectural urns for the 

                                          plaza area near the statue. Mrs. Walter McRae gave a        

                                          Memorial Garden which features relics from the 

                                         original Riverside en­trance gates.

1997                                  For the first time, the Pillars' statue was lighted for  

                                          night viewing by the Roger Main Foundation. 

                                          Councilman James N. Overton, as part of Mayor 

                                          Austin's Renaissance Program, provided funds for the

                                          handsome iron trash receptacles. The Parks and 

                                          Recreation Department replaced the many trees lost

                                          from a tornado which hit the Park in March 1997.

1998                                  Mrs. Snead Davis gave two large oak trees in memory          

                                          of her former husband, Mr. A. D. Davis.

1999                                  The Eunice Pitt Semmes Foundation Trust contributed

                                          funds to Landscape and renovate the riverfront area of

                                          the Park, the landscape design by C. James King,

                                          installed by B & L Land­scape Company.

2000                                  Clyde E. Harris, Architect, designed an exterior to  

                                          remodel the maintenance building in the park. The City

                                          repaired the sidewalks and curbing in the Park and 

                                          replaced shrubs dam­aged during the Summer of 1999

                                          due to a breakage in the sprinkler system. The 

                                          riverfront area was landscaped. Flag poles were given

                                          by Dr. Dekle Taylor.

Historic information was obtained from the Library of Congress, Washington, DC, the Olmsted Historic Site, Brookline Mass.; and the Jacksonville Public Library, Jacksonville, FL

Charles Adrian Pillars, the sculptor, died in Jacksonville on June 21, 1937, at age 67 and was buried in Evergreen Cemetery.

After the Park was completed by the Citizens Committee and dedicated on Christ­mas Day, 1924, it became the responsibility of the City of Jacksonville and has, since that time, been owned and maintained by the Parks Department of the City. It is a splendid example of a public-private undertaking. 

                          We are very grateful to the following

                                individuals  and business

Our fine neighbors and friends who donated towards the eagles becoming a reality.

Our very special thanks to the Insetta family.

Mrs. Walter A. McRae and Mrs. William L. Arnold, Jr. lor the beautiful new plantings throughout our park.

Thank you to restaurants Orsay and Chew for providing the refreshments.

Eagle Scouts Troop 26 Adventure Crew Allie Bount, President VOA 26 Ted Arnold Pickett past President VOA 26

For the Insetta grandchildren, Maia, Luke, Logan Dobbs and Destiny Davidson for unveiling the eagles.

United States Navy Band with soloist,

American Legion Lakeshop  Post 137 - Commander O’brien, Jeff Fazan, Harvey Finn, Norman Gentry, Lewis Gray and Rick Michael

Beachview  Party Rentals

Young Life Jacksonville for their sound system.

Jacksonville Right of  way & Grounds Division, Mr. Rovbert Baughman, Mr Walter Blackmon, Mr. L. Nazworthy, Mr. Von Zimmerman of Valley Crest Landscape Maintenance Co. 


                           BOARD OF DIRECTORS


Mrs. Frank W. Allcorn, IV                         Mrs. Bronson Lamb III

Mrs. William E Arnold, Jr.                         Mr. William L. Magevney

Mrs. Michael J Blackstone                         Mrs. Walter A. McRae Jr.

Mrs. Lewis C. Bliss                                      Mrs. Alex A. Meyer

Mr. Richard B. Burroughs                          Mrs. Russell Newton, Jr.

Mr. David Foerster                                      Mrs. Vince Ober

Mrs. James Folds                                         Mrs. Earl Pointevent

Mr. W. Robinson Frazier III                      Mrs. A. Lee Powell

Mrs. Mark Grandin                                     Mr. Martin Sack , Jr.

Ms. Patricia Houlihan                                 Mrs. Martin Sack, Jr. 

Mrs. Victor A.Hughes                                 Mr. Timothy M. Tyler

Mrs. J. Michael Hughes                              Mrs. James Van Vleck

Mr. John H Ingram, Jr.                                Mrs. A Daniel Wolff III


Mrs. Judson Freeman                                 Mr. Ted Pappas

Mrs. Alicia B. Grant                                   Mr. John  H Rogers

The Reverend Barnum McCarty              Mr. Herschel E. Shepard, Jr.

Initial Board of Trustees

Mr. Randall C. Berg                                   Mrs. Walter A. McRae , Jr.

Mr. Jacob F. Bryan IV                                Miss Elizabeth Osborne

Mrs. Hugh A. Carithers                              Mrs. Earl S. Pointevent III

Mrs. Jaquelin J. Daniel                              Mrs. Martin Stein, Sr. 

Mr. Temple J. Doswell II                            Mrs. Thompson Baker

Mrs. William R. Frazier                              Hon. Charles E. Bennett

Mrs. Judson Freeman                                Mrs. William Crittendon

Mr. Caldwell Hank Haynes                         Mrs. Paul Fentress

Mr. William H. Jeter, Jr.                             Mr. Thomas F. Nehl

Mr. Ralph H. Martin                                    Mr. John H. Zehmer