The early park improvements embraced the bluff's history of limestone industry by making picnic areas in the two major quarry sites. After more than 80 years since Memorial Park was first developed, Red Wing citizens have come forward again to restore, repair and enhance the historic features that make the park unique.
Entrance & Roads
Many roads were built to Sorin's Bluff quarries. Vestiges of these roads can still be found all over the bluff. The old Carlson Quarry roads were improved, modified and extended to provide public access to the new park.
Refurbished Quarry Picnic Areas
When Memorial Park first was developed, picnic areas with overlooks were created in the two abandoned Carlson quarries atop Sorin's bluff, a bluff named for Reverend Sorin who lived on the bluff's bottom slope. Each had a sugar loaf, a rock formation that remained after mining ceased. Each offered spectacular views of the Mississippi River and Lake Pepin. Steps were built into each sugar loaf rock face so that people could climb to the top and enjoy the view.
Over the years, the park had become overgrown and rundown. In 2012 to 2013 the quarries were cleared of dead trees and invasive vegetation by a joint citizen-city effort. The Red Wing Area Fund provided money for milling the quarry floors; refurbishing the steps and parking lots; and adding new trail heads, kiosks, fencing, fire rings, stone picnic tables, and picnic grills in both quarries.
The Upper Quarry has been refurbished and enhanced in the spirit of its original design. The new fire ring and the group picnic area east of the sugar loaf reflects that beauty and spirit of both quarries.
The Lower Quarry birch allée and picnic area is sited where the narrow gauge rail car tracks carried the stone from the quarry down the hill. Although the tunnel is gone, the rail alignment can still be seen on the hillside between the quarry and the park road. A new fire ring, picnic tables, and grills have been added to the allée and the original picnic areas