A six-year dream has come true for volunteers and supporters of the Lyndale Park Peace Garden with the completion of the Peace Garden Bridge. The formal dedication will be held Sunday, Sept. 20, from 12:30-2 p.m., with a ceremony at 1 p.m. The public and children of all ages are invited.
The event includes music by the vocal group Carpe Diem and the premier of From War to Peace Song (based on the World Peace Prayer) by Emmy Award-winning composer Steven Heitzeg. Guests from Japan will attend.
About the Bridge
The Peace Garden Bridge was designed by McKnight Distinguished Artist of the Year Kinji Akagawa and Jerry Allan, Professor and Architect of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Situated under willow trees, the bridge encourages visitors to pause and reflect on their surroundings. Japanese tradition also says that evil spirits walk only in straight lines, so the zigzag bridge prevents them from following people into their garden retreats.
The new structure replaces a cedar footbridge built in 1985, which was removed in October 2007 due to decay. The new bridge is constructed with extremely durable materials to weather Minnesota’s varying seasons. It is highlighted by decorative copper sasi blocks and inlaid Minnesota granite. It is wider to accommodate greater pedestrian traffic. The surrounding garden area has been redesigned, and a rain garden will be added in the near future.
The bridge once again features granite peace stones from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. Found near Ground Zero in the rubble of the 1945 atomic bomb blast, the Hiroshima stone had been a section of balustrade of a river bridge. The stone given by the City of Nagasaki, through the auspices of the St. Paul Sister City Committee, had been a portion of curbing stone in that ruined city. Minneapolis is the only U.S. city to receive such historic relics from the citizens of these Japanese cities.
The Peace Garden Bridge project dates back to 2003 when the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) authorized the Peace Garden Project Committee, a group of dedicated volunteers, to raise funds for the installation of two unique works of public art: the Spirit of Peace crane sculpture and the new Peace Garden Bridge.
The committee raised a total of $124,500 for the two projects. The crane sculpture, by St. Paul artist Caprice Glaser, was completed and dedicated in October 2006 at a cost of $76,000, leaving $48,500 for the bridge, which was estimated to cost $65,000. In October 2008 the MPRB Board of Commissioners committed to provide the remaining $16,500.
About the Peace Garden
The garden was originally built in 1929, but abandoned by the mid-1940s due to the economic times. It was rediscovered in 1981 after a tornado downed many mature trees in the area. It was then redesigned by artist Betty Ann Addison and rebuilt between 1983 and 2000. Donations over the 17-year period financed construction.
The garden features light-colored and irregularly-shaped ancient rocks that create a perfect micro-climate for alpine plants and dwarf conifers. It was originally named the Rock Garden then renamed the Lyndale Park Peace Garden in 1998 as a result of a citizens’ petition request. It was dedicated as an International Peace site in 1999.
The Spirit of Peace Sculpture invites visitors to fold an origami paper crane. Boulders along the walking path surrounding the base of the sculpture have plaques with etched instructions to teach the steps of folding a peace crane; origami paper is provided.
The true story of Sadako Sasaki was the inspiration for the sculpture and honors all victims of war. Sadako was a girl who developed cancer as a result of radiation released by the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Told of a Japanese legend that people who fold a thousand paper cranes will be granted a wish, Sadako folded over one thousand cranes before her death at age 12.
The garden, located on Roseway Road one block east of Lake Harriet Parkway, is a beautiful setting for afternoon picnics and weddings.