Summer is right around the corner, and I can't wait to get back to taking weekend trips to explore different parts of Minnesota. One of the planned trips that we try to make each year is Art-A-Whirl which happens in NE Minneapolis in May. This strange sphere sits in a park in NE Minneapolis, and it is there for a reason. Here is the story behind this mystery sphere.

First off the sphere has a name, it's known as the Sheridan Veterans Memorial, and it's a collection of shields, think about the movie 300, that are put together to create a large sphere.

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The City of Minneapolis Parks Department has more on the Veterans Memorial.

According to the City of Minneapolis Parks website:

"The Sheridan Veterans Memorial, honoring all Minnesota veterans, is centered around a large spherical sculpture of protective shields, created by local artist Robert Smart. The memorial emphasizes the cost of war as well as the importance of peace. The perimeter walk has quotes about peace engraved in granite. The memorial is surrounded by peace gardens and vertical markers describing the ten conflicts in which Minnesotans have served. Artist Smart also created the steel and granite markers with faces of veterans cast in iron.

A new playground, picnic shelter, basketball court and playable art, along with benches, a drinking fountain, portable toilets and path connections were added in 2019."

The park in which the statue sits, has a pretty neat history, according to the parks department:

"The park is named for the Sheridan neighborhood in which it is located and also reflects the goal of creating a veterans memorial on the site. The property was referred to as Water Street Park, after the street on which it is located, until it was renamed in 2007. The Sheridan neighborhood got its name from the Sheridan School at Broadway and University."

And if you play the lottery, think Minnesota lottery, you have helped create places like Sheridan Memorial Park as lottery funds were used to purchase the land for the current park in the mid-90s.

"Today’s Sheridan Memorial Park is on the site of the former Grain Belt Brewery along the northeast Minneapolis riverfront. The first lot for the park was purchased in 1986 and a second parcel was purchased in 1995 with funds from the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources, which was created to allocate proceeds from the Minnesota Lottery."

The next time you find yourself with a day to explore, maybe check this park out and grab a slice of wood-fired pizza at Element down the street.

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