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Driving down Andrews St., I noticed a tiny park with a large bronze bust. I must have driven and walked that route a hundred times, but I never saw the statue until today.

The statue is of Freidrich von Schiller, a German poet and playwright who lived from 1759 to 1805. The bust was commissioned in the early 1900s by local German American societies. It was placed at what was then called Anderson Park at University Ave. and Main St.

The construction of the Inner Loop forced the destruction of Anderson Park. It also forced the destruction of what was then Franklin Square, a center of German life. The city moved the Schiller monument to its current location in the 1960s and called the little plot Schiller Park. It was all that was left of Franklin Square.

Just a few blocks away is St. Joseph’s Church, another forgotten park with German roots. St. Joe’s burned down in the 1970s.

The Schiller Park tale is a stunning example of the consequences of urban renewal and the construction of the highway through downtown. (A history blog has detailed the Schiller Park saga.) Now we want to turn back the clock and remove the Loop. It may be a start, but we’ll never repair the damage. Just ask Mr. Schiller, whose view has changed from vibrant neighborhoods to parking lots and highway over the last century.

Postcard of Franklin Square

Anderson Park, 1938

6 Responses to Tale of Schiller Park

  1. Hey. R.

    You ought to check out the monument sitting in the median of Upper Falls Blvd. east of the Smith St. Bridge and St. paul, near the old B&L plant.

    It was also put up by the German American Club and was to be – get this – demolished by the urban renewal sponsored reconstruction of Smith St. into a 4 lane cross-town blvd. to be renamed Upper Falls Blvd.

    When the German-American folks got wind of this, they protested to the point they said they’d stand in the way of the bulldozers.

    Republican Mayor Steve May took hold of the situation and told us to fix it. The compromise was to split the lane around the monument to save it, prolly violating all sorts of good traffic engineering principles.

    The split did take out a portion of the tiered circular granite base apron and surrounding walks and landscaping kinda messing-up its beauty.

    Check it out. The Blvd. never met it’s planned x-town traffic volumes. Oh well.

    • > “Check it out. The Blvd. never met it’s planned x-town traffic volumes. Oh well.”

      Seems like a common theme in a lot of places… Tear down a historic structure in the name of some new, lofty idea (“Urban Renewal”), only to have the lot unused.

  2. I saw this park on a walk one day, and thought I’d check it out… It’s in an odd area, with nothing much around it other than the interloop. I had to look it up when I got home just to get things to make sense. LOL.

    I managed to snapped a few shots, 1, 2, before I noticed out of the corner of my eye a few men smoking from what appeared to be a crack pipe. Oh Downtown, how fun you are…

  3. June 19, 2012 at 12:51 pm Kevin Yost responds:

    Actually, I spoke before City Council a few years ago and suggested that Manhattan Square Park, Washington Square Park, Cornerstone Park, Liberty Pole Green, and St. Joseph’s and Schiller parks become a “spine” of downtown parks, plus we may have to throw any green space at the Midtown site that may come about into that as well.

    The Green along the War Memorial, Aqueduct Park, Major Charles Carrol Plaza, and the park along the east side of High Falls could be a smaller “spine” alongside as well.

  4. Pingback: Northern Inner Loop’s Problem » The Rochesterian

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