Mary Hardy MacArthur Memorial – Norfolk, Virginia - Atlas Obscura

Mary Hardy MacArthur Memorial

The childhood home of the famous general's mother is now a small, walled garden. 


The mother of General Douglas MacArthur, who commanded American forces in the Pacific during World War II, grew up in a Virginian estate called Riveredge. After it fell into disrepair, it was turned into a memorial built from brick from the once-elegant home.

Mary Pickney Hardy was born in Norfolk, Virginia, and became Mary Pickney MacArthur when she married Arthur MacArthur Jr. at Riveredge. As MacArthur Jr. had fought for the Union in the Civil War, it caused a stir in the Southern town, and two of Hardy’s brothers are said to have not attended. Since his father was a military man who lived where he was ordered to, young MacArthur did not grow up in Norfolk, but he remained attached to the city (he once interrupted a speaker at a public event to say that “It was intended that I should be born in Norfolk”) and spoke at a dedication ceremony for the Mary Hardy MacArthur Memorial in 1951.

Today, the park and memorial is in need of repair, and remains obscure even as Norfolk is the site of the MacArthur Memorial that hosts the general’s papers and gravesite. It’s a curious landmark within the historic Berkeley neighborhood.

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