Mears Park

MN_StPaul_MearsPark_byBradGoldberg_sig.jpg
St Paul, MN
United States
Mears Park

This one-block, two-acre urban park is ringed by rehabilitated warehouses in the heart of St. Paul’s historic Lowertown. In 1992, the park was redesigned by St. Paul Parks and Recreation landscape architect Don Ganje and sculptor Brad Goldberg, creating a mix of formal and informal areas.  Diagonal walkways lead to a central paved area for concerts and events, surrounded by groves of birch trees for shade and hardy perennial beds bordered by irregular stone walls that double as seating. A stream meanders over rocks through the park, creating riffles and cascades as the elevation drops. The park is especially striking in autumn when the deciduous tree canopy changes color.

Lowertown was named for its proximity to a steamboat landing on the Mississippi River. Businessman Robert Smith donated land for a public square in 1849, but it was part of a rocky prominence known as "Baptist Hill," named for the church at the top.  The hill was brought down to street level in the 1870s and the park was officially established in 1888. Over the next century, the surrounding warehouse district declined. In 1973, the park was renamed after Norman B. Mears, the Saint Paul businessman who spurred Lowertown’s revitalization. The Lowertown Redevelopment Corporation was organized in 1978 to revitalize the area and transformed the neighborhood over the decades that followed.

The park is a contributing site in the Historic Lowertown Heritage Preservation District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.