2212 Jackson St. NE
Minneapolis, MN 55418
10 am - 9 pm daily
Labor Day through Labor Day*
*Wading pools located on or adjacent school sites will open after the last day of school and close the day before school begins. These dates are determined by Minneapolis Public Schools and change each year.
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See what's currently in the works for this park. Some projects may be under the name of the regional park or service area it lives within. View Current Projects
Major investments at Central Gym Park in 2018 were made possible with funding from the 20-Year Neighborhood Park Plan. This historic agreement between MPRB and the City of Minneapolis helps address racial and economic equity across 160 neighborhood parks and provides $11 million annually to maintain, repair and replace facilities.
''In Flux,'' a spherical sculpture made of steel plates, sculptured glass and light, builds on the connection between the arts community, the Holland neighborhood, and supports the identity of the Arts District. Benches surround the sculpture. At the foot of the benches are cast iron text excerpts generated during meetings with community residents and Edison High School art students during the artwork development.
Name: The square is named for Jackson Street that runs past the park. The street was named for President Andrew Jackson. Prior to acquisition the area was known as Long John Pond. It was referred to in early park records as Ninth Ward Park.
Acquisition and Development
A petition for the acquisition of the land was submitted by Portius Deming and others in 1905. Deming was not a park commissioner at the time, but had served on the board 1895-1899 and would return to the park board for another nine-plus years 1909-1919. The board paid $4,463 for the land in 1906.
The land was not developed immediately into a playground as demonstrated by park superintendent Theodore Wirth’s request in May, 1907 for permission to erect a fence around the property to prevent residents from dumping garbage there.
Jackson Square and North Commons were among the board’s top priorities in seeking bond funds for 1909, and in 1910 a small “fieldhouse,” more accurately a warming shelter, was constructed there at a cost of about $12,500. However, because the land was not yet graded, no playground equipment was installed. A request for $800 in bond funds in 1911 was used to create playing fields and plant trees in the park.
In the 1917 annual report the park board stated that one of its goals in the future was to enlarge Jackson Square, especially to the west where the land was largely vacant. That enlargement never happened.
Eighteen years later enlargement of Jackson Square was again recommended by Wirth, who also presented plans to build a swimming pool at the park. Coming at the height of the Depression when the park board couldn’t afford routine maintenance, let alone new construction, the suggestion once again was not acted on. In 1939, Superintendent Christian Bossen proposed a rearrangement of the park and noted that the old shelter was settling.
Finally, beginning in 1952, Jackson Square was rehabilitated. The land was filled to grade (requiring 17,000 yards of fill) and the old shelter was razed. Two hard surface play areas, one for a basketball/volleyball court and the other for a children’s play area were created. A new shelter with a unique design was built in 1953. The new shelter featured overhead doors that could be pulled down to enclose the building in winter, when it was used as a warming house, but raised for open-air summer programs. A new wading pool was also built in Jackson Square in 1953.
A totlot was constructed at Jackson Square in 1974 and the tennis courts were also renovated. The playground was upgraded in 2004. An innovative musical playground, consisting of seven percussion instruments, was installed at Jackson Square in 2010 and its basketball court was resurfaced in 2015. A youth-sized hoop was also added in 2015.
History through 2008 written by David C. Smith, with updates from 2009 to present written by MPRB.