711 11th Ave. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414
Nearby Recreation Center: Van Cleve Recreation Center
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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.
Name: The park was named for Marcy School which once occupied the land. The present Marcy Open School is next to Holmes Park on 4th Street SE. It was built in 1992 on the site of the old HolmesSchool. MarcySchool was named for William A. Marcy a leader of the national Democratic Party before the Civil War. He was a senator from New York who later became Secretary of War and Secretary of State.
Acquisition and Development
It is appropriate that the neighborhood in southeast Minneapolis is named the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood with a hyphen. Both names come from elementary schools in the old southeastern section of what used to be St. Anthony, thus the “southeast” designation of the streets in the area.
The first Marcy school was built in 1878 at 9th Avenue SE and 5th Street SE, land that is now covered by Interstate Highway 35-E. In 1890 HolmesSchool (named for Oliver Wendell Holmes) was built six blocks to the east of the first MarcySchool.
The first MarcySchool was replaced by a second MarcySchool in 1908 at 11th Avenue SE and 7th Street SE two blocks north and east of the original school by that name. That is the location of the present Marcy Park.
What makes the names a bit confusing is that in 1992 a third MarcySchool was built—on the site of the old HolmesSchool, which is next to HolmesPark. So Marcy Park is not next to MarcySchool, HolmesPark is. Marcy Park replaced Marcy School and Marcy School replaced Homes School, but Holmes Park is still Holmes Park, just no longer next to Holmes School.
In 1976 the park board expressed its desire to acquire the Marcy School site for a park once the school closed. In 1979 the park board agreed to pay the school board the “fair market value” of the school site, $150,000. The old school grounds were promptly landscaped and outfitted with playground apparatus for smaller children. (See Holmes Park for more of the story of parks in the neighborhood.)
Park history compiled and written by David C. Smith.