Victory Memorial Drive

World War I was a particularly significant experience for Hennepin County residents. Over the course of the United States’ eighteen month military involvement overseas, 568 veterans and nurses were killed in action. Shortly after the November 11 Armistice which ended the war, Charles M. Loring, the creator of the Minneapolis Park system, began a project to dedicate an entire section of the parkway to the Hennepin County residents who lost their lives in World War I. The project began in 1919 and was completed two years later, with a dedication ceremony held on June 11, 1921.

As one enters the park, one immediately sees the 568 elm trees which span the four-mile section of Victory Memorial Drive and serve as its main feature. Each tree planted commemorates an individual Hennepin County veteran or nurse who died overseas in service of their country, with a plaque included at its base providing the name, date of birth, date of death, and service information for each individual.

At the southern entrance to the park, there exists a monument inscribed “Victory Memorial Drive” on the front and “So we shall never forget the sacrifice of those who served in the Great War” on the back to remind one of the park’s significance as one leaves. Adjacent to this structure is an American flag with a gold star below it to honor those who gave their lives to make the world safe for democracy.

As one reaches the northern section of the park, this is where they learn the story behind its creation. Located at its center is a second monument which doubles as a flag pole inscribed “in honor of 568 residents of Hennepin County who gave their lives in defense of liberty. The Great War, 1914-1918,” with an American flag flying high above it. In this area, there exist plaques containing dedicatory addresses from Charles Loring, the American Legion, General John J. Pershing, and Field Marshall Ferdinand Foch. Adjacent to these plaques, there includes a display detailing the history of Victory Memorial Drive and Minnesota’s role in World War I.

Each individual tree planted represents the cycle of life. As one Hennepin County nurse or veteran's life ended, the elms trees’ began in order to carry on and preserve the life and memory of the individual for whom it was planted. This could not be all the more so with the centennial of the Armistice which ended the Great War approaching this fall.

Images

Victory Memorial Drive, Pre-Construction

Victory Memorial Drive, Pre-Construction

Hibbard, C.J.Glenwood-Camden Parkway (now Victory Memorial Parkway) Before Improvements 1914 Minneapolis, Minnesota. 1914. Still Image. 19.05 by 24.13. Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Minneapolis, https://reflections.mndigital.org/catalog/p16022coll55:1924#/image/0. View File Details Page

Groundbreaking for Construction of Victory Memorial Drive

Groundbreaking for Construction of Victory Memorial Drive

Hibbard, C.J. Glenwood-Camden Parkway (now Victory Memorial Parkway) during construction, Minneapolis, Minnesota. 1919. Still Image. 20.32 by 25.40. Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Minneapolis, https://reflections.mndigital.org/catalog/p16022coll55:1910#/image/0. View File Details Page

Beginning of Construction for Victory Memorial Drive

Beginning of Construction for Victory Memorial Drive

Construction at Glenwood-Camden Parkway (now Victory Memorial Parkway), Minneapolis, Minnesota. 1919. Still Image. 20.32 by 25.40. Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Minneapolis, https://reflections.mndigital.org/catalog/p16022coll55:1882#/image/0. View File Details Page

Groundbreaking for Construction of Victory Memorial Drive

Groundbreaking for Construction of Victory Memorial Drive

Glenwood-Camden Parkway (now Victory Memorial Parkway), Minneapolis, Minnesota. 1919. Still Image. 8.26 by 14.61. Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Minneapolis, https://reflections.mndigital.org/catalog/p16022coll55:1923#/image/0. View File Details Page

Construction of Victory Memorial Drive

Construction of Victory Memorial Drive

Construction of Victory Memorial Drive, Minneapolis. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, http://collections.mnhs.org/cms/largerimagezirn=10127405&catirn=10758108&return=brand%3Dmhs%26count%3D100%26displaymode%3Dlist%26q%3Dvictory%2520memorial%2520drive%26yearrange%3D1919-1921. View File Details Page

Construction of Victory Memorial Drive

Construction of Victory Memorial Drive

Construction of Victory Memorial Drive, Minneapolis. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, http://collections.mnhs.org/cms/largerimagezirn=10127406&catirn=10758111&return=brand%3Dmhs%26count%3D100%26displaymode%3Dlist%26q%3Dvictory%2520memorial%2520drive%26yearrange%3D1919-1921. View File Details Page

Construction of Victory Memorial Drive

Construction of Victory Memorial Drive

Construction of Victory Memorial Drive, Minneapolis. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, http://collections.mnhs.org/cms/largerimagezirn=10275208&catirn=10758112&return=brand%3Dmhs%26count%3D100%26displaymode%3Dlist%26q%3Dvictory%2520memorial%2520drive%26yearrange%3D1919-1921. View File Details Page

1920 Map of Victory Memorial Drive's North End

1920 Map of Victory Memorial Drive's North End

Godward, Alfred C. and Theodore Wirth. Victory Memorial Drive, North End, Minneapolis Park Board, Minneapolis, Minnesota. 1920. Map. 8.25 by 10.16. Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Minneapolis, https://reflections.mndigital.org/catalog/p16022coll55:1740#/image/0. View File Details Page

Map of Victory Memorial Drive from its 1921 Dedication Ceremony

Map of Victory Memorial Drive from its 1921 Dedication Ceremony

Hudson Publishing Company. Map Of The Dedication Of Victory Memorial Parkway, Minneapolis, Minnesota. 1921. Map. 47.5 by 33.6. Minneapolis Central Library, Minneapolis, https://reflections.mndigital.org/catalog/mpls:10677#/image/0. View File Details Page

1919 map of the North End of Victory Memorial Drive

1919 map of the North End of Victory Memorial Drive

The Victory Memorial Drive, the North end, Minneapolis, Minnesota. 1919. Map. 39 by 55. Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Minneapolis, https://reflections.mndigital.org/catalog/p16022coll55:132#/image/0. View File Details Page

Hennepin County veterans and nurses gathering for the dedication of Victory Memorial Drive

Hennepin County veterans and nurses gathering for the dedication of Victory Memorial Drive

Opening of Victory Memorial Drive, Minneapolis. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, http://collections.mnhs.org/cms/largerimagezirn=10329942&catirn=10865641&return=brand%3Dmhs%26count%3D100%26displaymode%3Dlist%26q%3Dvictory%2520memorial%2520drive%26yearrange%3D1919-1921. View File Details Page

Dedication Ceremony to Victory Memorial Drive

Dedication Ceremony to Victory Memorial Drive

Opening of Victory Memorial Drive, Minneapolis. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, http://collections.mnhs.org/cms/largerimagezirn=10198881&catirn=10865645&return=brand%3Dmhs%26count%3D100%26displaymode%3Dlist%26q%3Dvictory%2520memorial%2520drive%26yearrange%3D1919-1921. View File Details Page

Soldiers marching in the opening parade to the dedication of Victory Memorial Drive

Soldiers marching in the opening parade to the dedication of Victory Memorial Drive

Opening of Victory Memorial Drive, Minneapolis. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, http://collections.mnhs.org/cms/largerimagezirn=10198882&catirn=10865646&return=brand%3Dmhs%26count%3D100%26displaymode%3Dlist%26q%3Dvictory%2520memorial%2520drive%26yearrange%3D1919-1921. View File Details Page

Opening Parade to Victory Memorial Drive Dedication Ceremony

Opening Parade to Victory Memorial Drive Dedication Ceremony

Hibbard, C.J. Parade at Glenwood-Camden Parkway (now Victory Memorial Parkway) in 1921 Minneapolis, Minnesota. 1921. Still Image. 19.69 by 24.77. Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Minneapolis, https://reflections.mndigital.org/catalog/p16022coll55:1938#/image/0. View File Details Page

Nurses marching in the Parade to Victory Memorial Drive's Dedication

Nurses marching in the Parade to Victory Memorial Drive's Dedication

Dedication of Victory Memorial Drive - Glenwood-Camden Parkway, Minneapolis. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, http://collections.mnhs.org/cms/largerimagezirn=10105906&catirn=10725785&return=brand%3Dmhs%26count%3D100%26displaymode%3Dlist%26q%3Dvictory%2520memorial%2520drive%26yearrange%3D1919-1921. View File Details Page

Flag Bearing Ceremony at Victory Memorial Drive Dedication

Flag Bearing Ceremony at Victory Memorial Drive Dedication

American Legion units at flag pole on Memorial Drive, Minneapolis. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, http://collections.mnhs.org/cms/largerimagezirn=10124923&catirn=10754093&return=brand%3Dmhs%26count%3D100%26displaymode%3Dlist%26q%3Dvictory%2520memorial%2520drive%26yearrange%3D1919-1921. View File Details Page

Flag Bearing Ceremony at Victory Memorial Drive Dedication

Flag Bearing Ceremony at Victory Memorial Drive Dedication

American Legion units at flag pole on Memorial Drive, Minneapolis. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, http://collections.mnhs.org/cms/largerimagezirn=10124924&catirn=10754094&return=brand%3Dmhs%26count%3D100%26displaymode%3Dlist%26q%3Dvictory%2520memorial%2520drive%26yearrange%3D1919-1921. View File Details Page

Victory Memorial Drive

Victory Memorial Drive

Victory Memorial Drive, Minneapolis. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, http://collections.mnhs.org/cms/largerimagezirn=10126433&catirn=10756256&return=brand%3Dmhs%26count%3D100%26displaymode%3Dlist%26q%3Dvictory%2520memorial%2520drive%26yearrange%3D1919-1921. View File Details Page

Walking View of Victory Memorial Drive

Walking View of Victory Memorial Drive

Norton and Peel Commercial Photography. Glenwood-Camden Parkway (now Victory Memorial Parkway), Minneapolis, Minnesota. Still Image. 19.69 by 24.77. Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Minneapolis, https://reflections.mndigital.org/catalog/p16022coll55:1921#/image/0. View File Details Page

Street View of Victory Memorial Drive today

Street View of Victory Memorial Drive today

Victory Memorial Parkway, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Still Image. 5.08 by 5.08. Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Minneapolis, https://reflections.mndigital.org/catalog/p16022coll55:2368#/image/0. View File Details Page

Minneapolis natives walking through and observing Victory Memorial Drive

Minneapolis natives walking through and observing Victory Memorial Drive

Victory Memorial Parkway, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Still Image. 5.08 by 5.08. Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Minneapolis, https://reflections.mndigital.org/catalog/p16022coll55:2297#/image/0. View File Details Page

Two Minneapolis children observing the monument to Victory Memorial Drive at the park's North End.

Two Minneapolis children observing the monument to Victory Memorial Drive at the park's North End.

Victory Memorial Parkway Monument, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Still Image. 5.08 by 5.08. Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Minneapolis, https://reflections.mndigital.org/catalog/p16022coll55:2342#/image/0. View File Details Page

Elm Trees planted at Victory Memorial Drive

Elm Trees planted at Victory Memorial Drive

Creator: Photo by Matt Berning View File Details Page

Elm Trees planted at Victory Memorial Drive

Elm Trees planted at Victory Memorial Drive

Creator: Photo by Matt Berning View File Details Page

Marker to Victory Memorial Drive at the park's South Entrance

Marker to Victory Memorial Drive at the park's South Entrance

Creator: Photo by Matt Berning View File Details Page

American Flag and Monument to Victory Memorial Drive at the park's North Entrance

American Flag and Monument to Victory Memorial Drive at the park's North Entrance

Creator: Photo by Matt Berning View File Details Page

Plaque detailing the history of Victory Memorial Drive at the park's North Entrance

Plaque detailing the history of Victory Memorial Drive at the park's North Entrance

Creator: Photo by Matt Berning View File Details Page

Plaque detailing Minnesota's experience in World War I at the North Entrance to Victory Memorial Drive

Plaque detailing Minnesota's experience in World War I at the North Entrance to Victory Memorial Drive

Creator: Photo by Matt Berning View File Details Page

Plaques listing the Gold Star veterans and nurses of Hennepin County at Victory Memorial Drive

Plaques listing the Gold Star veterans and nurses of Hennepin County at Victory Memorial Drive

Creator: Photo by Matt Berning View File Details Page

Dedicatory plaque with address from the American Legion at Victory Memorial Drive

Dedicatory plaque with address from the American Legion at Victory Memorial Drive

Creator: Photo by Matt Berning View File Details Page

Dedicatory plaque with address from General John J. Pershing, Commander of the Expeditionary Forces in World War I, at Victory Memorial Drive

Dedicatory plaque with address from General John J. Pershing, Commander of the Expeditionary Forces in World War I, at Victory Memorial Drive

Creator: Photo by Matt Berning View File Details Page

Dedicatory plaque with address from Field Marshall Ferdinand Foch, Supreme Commander of all Allied Armies in World War I, at Victory Memorial Drive

Dedicatory plaque with address from Field Marshall Ferdinand Foch, Supreme Commander of all Allied Armies in World War I, at Victory Memorial Drive

Photo by Matt Berning View File Details Page

Dedicatory plaque to the Gold Star veterans and nurses of Hennepin County from the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board

Dedicatory plaque to the Gold Star veterans and nurses of Hennepin County from the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board

Photo by Matt Berning View File Details Page

Plaque listing Hennepin County Gold Star veterans and nurses at Victory Memorial Drive

Plaque listing Hennepin County Gold Star veterans and nurses at Victory Memorial Drive

Photo by Matt Berning View File Details Page

Plaque listing Hennepin County Gold Star veterans and nurses at Victory Memorial Drive

Plaque listing Hennepin County Gold Star veterans and nurses at Victory Memorial Drive

Photo by Matt Berning View File Details Page

Plaque at the base of a tree at Victory Memorial Drive providing the service information for the Gold Star in whose memory the elm was planted

Plaque at the base of a tree at Victory Memorial Drive providing the service information for the Gold Star in whose memory the elm was planted

Photo by Matt Berning View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Matt Berning (Author and Creator), Dr. Maheen Zaman (Advisor), “Victory Memorial Drive,” Augsburg Digi-Tours, accessed July 10, 2020, http://digitours.augsburg.edu/items/show/48.

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