Originally called the Glenwood-Camden Parkway, this four-mile drive comprises an L-shaped section of the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway. The Board of Park Commissioners acquired open farmland northwest of the city center between 1910 and 1911, planning two sections of straight roads flanked by walks and green spaces punctuated by playgrounds. The north-south portion followed the western boundary of the city to form a 62-acre park, while the east-west roadway stretched to the Mississippi River and encompassed 112 acres. Construction was stalled by World War I; when progress resumed in 1918, Superintendent Theodore Wirth suggested planting four rows of elm trees along a parkway to commemorate Hennepin County’s lost servicemen. The parkway was dedicated in 1921.
Over the next decade, a series of monuments were placed along the parkway. In 1923 a bronze flagpole set in an ornamental brick base and ringed by ten flowering trees was placed at the junction of the two roads, creating the Grand Army Circle honoring Civil War veterans. In 1929 the site was further embellished with a statue of Abraham Lincoln sculpted by Max Bachman. Successive wars have been commemorated with plantings and memorials.
Bicycle paths were added in 1975 following recommendations by Eckbo, Dean, Austin, and Williams. In 2006 the trail was repaved with asphalt, new drinking fountains, signs, and benches were installed, and ornamental shrubs and trees were planted at parkway entrances.