The importance of urban green spaces can’t be overstated. According to the WHO, such spaces are “essential to both the ecosystem and the mental health of citizens.” They can lessen the effects of pollution, promote more healthy lifestyles, and bolster the collective sense of community, among so many other benefits. And, while we Utahans may be a bit spoiled in our unparalleled access to the surrounding natural environment, our urban green spaces are nevertheless extraordinarily valuable.
Accordingly, as 70-degree temps begin to melt the snow-covered everything, we thought it might be a good idea to remind folks of a few of our favorite green spaces around the city. First up...Memory Grove.
A Little History
At a time of increasing industrialization, turn-of-the-century efforts were made to ensure that our city’s growth would be tempered by green spaces (today, Salt Lake City actually ranks among the top 50 cities in the U.S. for "green space per capita," thanks in part to these efforts—see articles here and here). The hope was that the open additions to the city would encourage civilization, recreation, preservation, or—in the case of Memory Grove—recognition. Constructed in the 1920s as a war memorial, this park has since stood at the bottom of the west side of the Avenues, the entrance to a small canyon that separates our city’s first official neighborhood from her Capitol building. A host of memorial structures have been added to the property over time: a marble Pagoda (the first in the park), Meditation Chapel, pond (known officially as the Harbor of Beauty), footbridge, Korean War Wall of Honor, Liberty Bell replica, and numerous name markers still stand in recognition of fallen military members.
Today, Memory Grove is a park that has evolved to perfection (previous flooding and a late-90s tornado be damned). The Memorial House (originally a stable) is a historic and beautiful event space that hosts weddings, luncheons, and more. On any given mild Sunday, you’ll find picnic-goers alongside water-bound pups (the aforementioned pond is only for the dogs) and folks enjoying a good book or a nap. Walkers, joggers, and cyclists are ever-present (some rules apply, so best to check slc.gov), as M.G. is the entrance to City Creek Canyon, a 5.8-mile paved road that lends itself to easy/moderate hiking. With a little prep and some cooperative weather, Memory Grove can be the ideal site for your next perfect day.