Photo of the balustrade restoration by Memorial Park Association.

Memorial Park Association’s Board of Directors is pleased to announce the completion of the replacement of the nearly 100-year-old balustrade that formerly lined the seawall of Jacksonville-based Memorial Park before Hurricane Irma destroyed it in September 2017. 

Southside-based Intron Technologies was selected by the City of Jacksonville in June 2020 to replace the 560-foot-long stretch of concrete balustrade and began creating the new balusters earlier this year. In early March 2021, workers from the company started the process of affixing the 90-lb. 36-inch-high concrete balusters to the seawall. After installing lampposts designed to reflect the original Olmsted Brothers design, the $405,000 project was deemed completed in late July.

Also in late July, the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation awarded Memorial Park Association the 2021 Outstanding Achievement Award in the Organizational Award category for its restoration and rehabilitation efforts in the six-acre Olmsted Brothers park. The award also noted the efforts of Dr. R.B. Rosenberg’s research of the Florida Fallen – the more than 1,600 who served in World War I – and the upcoming Life Scrolls exhibit planned for November 2021-March 2022 at the Museum of Science & History. 

From its beginning in 1924, Memorial Park has existed through collaborative partnerships of public and private interests. In November 1918, the Rotary Club of Jacksonville put forth a proposal for a memorial to honor Floridians who died in service during “The Great War,” known today as World War I, which was to be paid for by the citizens of Greater Jacksonville and dedicated in a new public park. Following decades of decline, the Memorial Park Association, a nonprofit started in 1986 to restore the park to its original Olmsted Brothers design, entered an Adopt-a-Park Agreement with the City of Jacksonville, created a Master Plan in 2012, and has raised over $1.6 million to fund the park’s restoration. 

This article first appeared in the October 1, 2021, issue of Field Notes by the National Association for Olmsted Parks.