THIS COMMUNITY/THIS LAND
Midway Peace Park is situated on Ojibwe ancestral land. During the European settlement of Minnesota till the 1920s, there is no evidence of a structure ever having been built on the land. Early aerial photos depict a grassy hillside, with a railroad spur terminating nearby. From the 1880s to 1940s, this land was known as Circus Hill, where elephants wandered between big top tents when the circus came to town.
In the 1940s, University Avenue was dotted with automobile dealerships and Circus Hill became a parking lot for the nearby Whitaker Buick. As such, the natural hillside was graded and flattened, creating an upper and lower parking lot. Use of these parking lots persisted until the early 2000s when many car dealerships moved to 1st and 2nd tier suburbs. The land was listed for sale in 2007 amid speculation of University Avenue development for the Central Corridor Light Rail Transit.
Skyline Tower residents noted the large grassy lots as potential areas for community markets and green space access. When Gordon Parks High School moved into its new location at 1212 University Avenue, collaboration with Skyline Tower yielded a multi-media/multilingual park championing process and resolve for community empowerment that createda groundswell of enthusiasm and support. In 2014, this advocacy resulted in $1.5 million park acquisition funds being earmarked in the 8/80 Livability Plan. From this point forward, in partnership with the City of St. Paul and the Trust for Public Land, the park land was purchased in 2016 and opened for public access in the spring of 2021.
Midway Peace Park is a refuge and meeting spot for all residents. Consider this a learning landscape.