Spartan Circle Garden mixes old, new

A walkway and trees were added to the garden this year.
Mary Metzinger, second from right, starts a meeting at the Spartan Garden attended by, from left, Monica Tikkanen, Julie Owen, Linda Heisel and Janet LeBard Monday afternoon, August 3, near door N4 at Superior High School. (Jed Carlson /

The Spartan Circle Garden is nearing completion outside Superior High School. A walkway was added this year, as well as four flowering crabapple trees.

“I’m just very, very pleased,” said Mary Metzinger, president of the Lake Superior Garden Club. “I think it was important to re-establish because so many people put time, energy and money into the original Spartan Garden.”

The original garden was located between the school and North 28th Street. It was dismantled and boxed up in 2016 to prepare for the renovation of Superior High School, which began in 2017. The garden club started unpacking and reconstructing the garden in 2019 by planting the round brick patio along the north side of the school at entrance N4. It was renamed the Spartan Circle Garden in homage to the old SHS building.
An inscribed brick lines the outside of Superior High School Spartan Circle Garden Monday, Aug. 3, near door N4 at SHS. (Jed Carlson /


The Lake Superior Garden Club secured a number of grants, held annual plant sales and continues to sell memorial paver bricks to fund the roughly $10,000 restoration project. The engraved bricks cost $100 each. The 50 bricks from the original Spartan Garden have been placed at the new site, along with 19 new memorial bricks.

“It makes you realize that nothing lasts forever,” Metzinger said. “They may be uprooting this garden in the future.”

It’s a new garden with a new name, but Spartan Circle Garden carries a lot of history.

Four flowering crabapple trees were planted this year to replace memorial trees from the original garden. One honors Lance Cpl. Adam Van Alstine, a Superior High School graduate and U.S. Marine who was killed by a roadside bomb in Ramadi, Iraq, on Feb. 25, 2006. Another tree was dedicated in honor of Carol Stevens, former teacher and coordinator of Indian Education for the Superior School District. Metzinger said there are no records on the final two trees. Club members are seeking information about the trees and who they were planted for.

Another feature being added to the garden is an urn from the Ryan Hoff memorial garden that was in the circular courtyard of the old Superior High School building.

The Lake Superior Garden Club has about 17 members. In addition to the garden at SHS, the group cares for the gardens at the Douglas County Historical Society. Visit the Lake Superior Garden Club Facebook page for more information on the group and the Spartan Circle Garden.

Maria Lockwood covers news in Douglas County, Wisconsin, for the Superior Telegram.
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