We dare say thousands of people pass it by every week and you probably do as well. If you have noticed it at all perhaps you thought it interesting but certainly not worth a stop mostly due to where it is located. We thought the same for a long time until we started looking a little closer. What starts as a small step can turn into something of a special one-mile journey with many interesting facets!
This spot of land lies in the narrow “Y” where the Memorial Bridge traffic to and from Clearwater Beach separates. The place to park your car is the small parking lot just before the statues and the bridge. The parking is free on the weekends when you will also find it pretty much empty. During the week, the parking meters ask for fifty cents per hour.
A hop across the U-turn lane brings you to the statues that honor the 38 local lives lost in World War I. Purchased and donated by American Legion Post 7 they also celebrated the completion of the original Causeway Memorial Bridge on November 11, 1927 leading to Clearwater Beach. You’ll find the Army “Doughboy” facing traffic approaching the bridge from the East and the Sailor giving a big wave with hat in hand to the folks returning from the beach. Both have explanatory tablets on the statue’s bases. Both statues and their sculptor have a history and we have included both in the link below.
Now let’s take a walk. We suggest a path (see the included map) you might take from this tiny park to get some exercise in the Florida sunshine and see some beautiful scenery.
From the statues, cross the Eastbound traffic lane from the beach (carefully!) to the sidewalk that goes up and over the bridge. You will find the spiral stairway (#2) just a short way along the sidewalk. Take it to descend below the bridge. There you can check out the marina and take Pierce Street (#3) if you wish a short loop back around to your car.
Or you can choose the longer loop route, approximately a mile, and continue along the shoreline and marina to visit the long public pier where the Clearwater Ferry docks near Coachman Park. From the pier head East up Cleveland Street to visit the many shops and restaurants for lunch or maybe a cool drink and a rest. Then you will turn back South along either S. Fort Harrison in front of the big hotel or take S. Osceola (beside the Capitol theater) towards your vehicle.
Be sure to visit the block wide courtyard separating Fort Harrison Ave and S. Osceola on your way back. It has many beautiful plantings, a bubbling fountain and numerous inviting benches to stop for a shady rest.
It is a paved surface all the way and suitable for walking or biking. Give it a try and let everyone know in the comments what you think about this little excursion.
Back at the beginning, after the statues, you might also choose to take the sidewalk to the top of the bridge for some stunning views and photo opportunities of Clearwater Harbor and the Intracoastal Waterway.
The Doughboy sculptures were designed by artist E. M. “Dick” Viquesney. At least 136 Viquesney Doughboys survive in thirty-five U.S. states, and some experts consider the Doughboy to be one of the most-seen pieces of outdoor statuary in the nation. Viquesney, who lived from 1876 to 1946, devoted two years to perfecting what was to become his trademark. He interviewed scores of World War I veterans, studied hundreds of photographs, and used two soldiers as live models. Viquesney’s Doughboy monument, which was named the official World War I National Memorial, became extremely popular and was erected across America until the late 1930s. Source: Encyclopedia of Arkansas