Parque América is the main park that serves as centerpiece to the long esplanades on Avenida Horacio in Mexico City’s Polanco. Once known as the Parque de las Américas, it dates from the mid-20th century. The older name should remind one of the long Pan-American Movement that began with Simon Bolivar after the disintegration of the Spanish empire. Though few remember it, the idea consolidated into the Organization of American States in 1948.
The park, though, represented a consolidation of the northern side of Polanco in the mid-century, although Polanco’s hey-day was still to come. Today’s Avenida Horacio was then a farming road lined with cedar trees. It was developed as the “Park and Promenade of the Americas” in recognition of the 20th International Congress of Americanists (1921) and the VIII Pan American Conference (1938). Both events took place in Lima, Peru. The Paseo was dedicated in 1940. And the park was really that avenues main traffic roundabout and intersection. The fountains on either end remain from this time.
Today the park is home to a bust of Don Pedro D. Murillo (pictured), a gift from the Bolivian government. The founder of the Rotary International, Paul P. Harris, is also honored here.
Probably to be most famous of all, the Parque América is intended to receive the controversial statue of Christopher Columbuís once featured in the Women’s Struggle Glorieta on the Paseo de la Reforma. The statue should take up its new home during 2022. That won’t likely add to the park’s association with the Bolivarian idea of Pan Americanism. But it is broadly considered a less divisive place to house the Genoese sailor.
Today the park serves, at least informally, as a quasi-atrium to the grandiose temple of St. Augustine. The park, and perhaps America, too, just keep on evolving.