Brackett Field Park

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Minneapolis, MN
United States
Brackett Field Park

Landscape Information

Short Line Playground

This 10.3-acre neighborhood park is bordered by residential streets on the east and south. Unlike earlier parks created for the enjoyment of their natural amenities, this park was part of Theodore Wirth's campaign to establish neighborhood parks and playgrounds within six blocks of every residence in Minneapolis. The land was acquired for $34,600 in 1922 and a playground and playing fields were completed in 1924. Briefly called the Short Line Playground, the park was renamed George A. Brackett Field in 1923 to honor one of the park board’s original commissioners and a strong supporter of Wirth's focus on recreation in parks.

 A high railroad embankment, now the Midtown Greenway, curves along the park’s north side. A ramp links the park and greenway and a tunnel through the embankment provides access to a neighborhood to the north. Over half the park holds sports fields and a skate park, which replaced two tennis courts in 2005. Groves of trees shade the section to the east, which holds a playground, wading pool, and a community center completed in 2000.

The “Return Journey” sculpture is a prominent landmark at the park’s southwest corner. The 35-foot metal rocket was installed as playground equipment in 1962, celebrating America’s entrance into the space race. As safety standards became more stringent, it was partly closed in the late 1990s and removed during a 2004 park renovation. The park board did not plan to return it to the park, but the grassroots Brackett Rocket Boosters and Forecast Public Artworks lobbied for its conversion to a sculpture and helped raise $50,000 to make that possible in 2007. Artist Randy Walker ringed the rocket with 84 metal cables that are lit at night.