In 2019, the annual observance of Veterans Day marks its 100th anniversary. Sharing the date of November 11 as its “birthday”, Muskegon’s Veterans Memorial Park Celebrates its 85th Anniversary.
”Veterans Memorial Park” in Muskegon was originally built in 1928 and formally dedicated on November 11, 1934 as “Muskegon County Memorial Park” as a “Living Memorial to the World War Dead.”
On November 11, 2009 during the 75th anniversary celebration, the park was rechristened “Veterans Memorial Park”
Veterans Memorial Park is a 50 acre, historically significant park and attraction, located along the “West Michigan Pike”. The park contains a lagoon and small island which can be reached by 2 footbridges. The park boasts several war memorials, a large fountain on the South end and a Vietnam Memorial to the North.
A concrete walkway winds around the park, along which lay bronze plaques, purchased by individuals to commemorate loved ones who have served in the armed forces. The walkway was constructed by the Veteran’s organization. This property is owned by Muskegon County and maintained by the City of Muskegon.
Once hailed as “Michigan’s Most Beautiful Mile, work began in 2017 to renew the beauty of the park. With grant money secured by WMSRDC, efforts included the removal of cattails, rebuilding the banks and fresh floral and tree plantings.
The pond was drained and reconnected to the Muskegon River, allowing for fresh flowing water. Sunken portions of the walkway were leveled out; however record high water levels stalled some plans. This included replacement of some sidewalk markers, which plan to be reinstalled as weather allows.
Several small parking lots allow public access to the park from north and south bound Causeway traffic. Putters Creek is located to the east, offering kayak rentals, go-karts, mini-golf and ice cream. The Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve is located to the northeast side. The Preserve also offers hiking trails and a riverwalk/boardwalk along the Muskegon River.
War Memorials include:
- The Purple Heart Monument: Dedicated to wounded combat veterans during the 2008 Veterans Day ceremony
- Michigan Polar Bear Confronts the Bolsheviks: Dedicated to WWI soldiers who later became known as the American Polar Bears
- Marker in Honor of VFW Post 446
- Two Footbridges: Donated by The Muskegon Boiler Works and refurbished by the Muskegon North Side Lions
- “Honor Roll” Marker: In tribute to those of Muskegon County who gave their lives in the Vietnam War
- World War I M1906 4.7 Inch Field Guns
- 32nd Division Obelisk: Dedicated in 1978
- Veterans Memorial Trail Marker: Displaying branches of the military
Read the 2009 MLive article “A place of honor: Veterans Memorial Park to celebrate 75th anniversary”