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Forgotten Joyce Kilmer Memorial Fireplace

Field review by the editors.

St. Paul, Minnesota

Alfred Joyce Kilmer was born in New Jersey, wrote the poem "Trees," died in World War I, and is buried in France. He was never anywhere near Minnesota. But the American Legion of St. Paul decided that Kilmer should have a memorial in the city's biggest park, and dedicated the Joyce Kilmer Arboretum Monument on June 28, 1936. It had a cascading waterfall, an encircling wall, a plaque with Kilmer's poem hung from an oak tree, and a big stone fireplace.

Minnesota weather, vandals, and time eventually eliminated all but the fireplace, which itself was in near-collapse until the city restored it in 2011. But its origin as a Joyce Kilmer memorial is no longer evident, and perhaps that's for the best. A fireplace? The burning hell for countless innocent trees? What was St. Paul thinking?

Forgotten Joyce Kilmer Memorial Fireplace

Como Ave., St. Paul, MN
Midway between Minneapolis and St. Paul, on the south side of Como Park. I-94 exit 239B. Drive north on N. Lexington Pkwy for 1.5 miles. Turn left at the stoplight onto Como Ave. Drive west a third of a mile. You'll see a small gravel parking lot on the left. Park in it, then walk back across Como Ave. You'll see the fireplace back in the trees.
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