Bookmark and Share

Red Arrow Park Memorial

    

Location:

The Red Arrow granite monument is located in the middle of Red Arrow Park, in front of the Starbucks coffeeshop entrance.  Red Arrow Park can be found just north of Milwaukee City Hall, on the east side of Water St. directly across from the Marcus Performing Center.  See location in Google Maps.
Features & Materials:  The memorial consists of a monument, a flagpole and two plaques on granite stones.
  • Monument:
    • Red granite, polished on two main sides, shaped as Red Arrow insignia, 8 feet high and 4 feet wide.
    • Gray granite, rough, as the base
  • Flagpole
    • Steel, with a bronze ball on the top.
  • Plaques
    • Two bronze plaques on rough gray granite boulders
Aldermanic District:  4th

 

The Story

The Red Arrow Monument was placed in honor of the 32nd Infantry Division of the United States, known after World War I as the 32nd Red Arrow Division.  The addition of "Red Arrow" came with the addition of insignia for the unit, which appeared as a red arrow pointing upward with a horizontal line through the middle of it.  It symbolized the fact that the 32nd Division penetrated every German line of defense that it faced during World War I; no easy task, and one that cost the division the lives of thousands of its soldiers.  On record, the division suffered a total of 13,261 casualties, including 2,250 men killed in action and 11,011 wounded, placing it third in the number of battle deaths among U.S. Army divisions during World War I.  This also earned them the nickname "Les Terribles" from the French, a compliment acknowledging the ferocity with which they battled the front line German troops.  It's worth noting that a majority of the men serving in the 32nd Division during World War I were from Wisconsin at 15,000 troops, with the remaining men coming from Michigan and numbering 8,000 troops. 2

The 32nd Red Arrow Division was honored far and wide at the close of World War I, with parks, schools and a high school sports program taking on the name Red Arrow, just to name some examples. 2  Milwaukee's Red Arrow Park was originally located at the intersection of 10th and Wisconsin.  As mentioned in an April 17, 1970 Milwaukee Journal article,"That park had been a resting place for sailors, old men who lived in the area, and tired shoppers.  Children played in its wading pool."  But when the freeway was built through Milwaukee, the park land was reclaimed for that project, and Milwaukee was without its Red Arrow Park for a time, until a new location was identified just across the street from and north of City Hall.1

Red Arrow Park opened at it's new location in October of 1970, and featured a 6-foot wall on the east side of the park; tree, lawn and garden plantings; and walkways.  A fountain was planned for the park as well, to be built when more funds became available.

Decades later, more changes were in store when the idea of an ice rink was proposed as an addition to the park.  Despite some dissent from the Milwaukee Red Arrow Club and members of the 32nd Division Veterans Association, many others liked the idea, and the skating rink was later built for a sum of $2.4 million, which included a $750,000 donation from the estate of Jane Pettit as well as money from local businesses and Milwaukee County.  The ice rink first opened in December of 1999.  Starbucks opened for business in the warming house a few years later. 2

The remarkable red granite Red Arrow Monument was dedicated on November 11, 1984, and made possible by funds from the 32nd Red Arrow Division and the Milwaukee County Park Commission.1

Reference links can be found below in More Info.
 


Gallery

Click on a picture to view a larger version of it.

Close-up view of the 32nd Red Arrow Division Monument. Detail of one of the plaques near the flagpole, featuring the 32nd Division Creed. The park's original plans from 1970.

 


More Info

  1. Red Arrow Park Memorial - HPC Inventory Sheet

  2. Wikipedia page

 

City Hall
200 E. Wells St., Room B-4

Milwaukee, WI 53202

(414) 286-5712

hpc@milwaukee.gov


 


War Memorial Web Site Credits

Nader Sayadi compiled a majority of the photos and information seen here.  Laura Vanderbilt contributed writing and supporting information for "The Story" sections.