The Grove of Remembrance Pavilion has stood nestled amongst the trees on Beechwood Drive near the Maryland Zoo for nearly a century. Designed by architect E.L. Palmer, the rustic pavilion’s placement within the Grove of Remembrance is fitting. The grove was planted on October 8, 1919 to honor those who had died in World War I and the pavilion is a monument to First Lieutenant Merrill Rosenfeld, a prominent Baltimore attorney, killed while serving in the military during World War I.
Lieutenant Rosenfeld was born in Baltimore in 1883 as the eldest son of Israel Rosenfeld and Rebecca Rosenfeld, née Stern, second generation German Jewish immigrants. Israel Rosenfeld owned a successful clothing retail business and achieved the rank of colonel serving as an aid-de-camp to Governor John Walter Smith.
Merrill Rosenfeld was much like his father. He graduated from the Johns Hopkins University in 1904 and joined the Maryland Bar in 1906. He fought during the Mexican Revolution of 1910, earning the rank of top sergeant, and joined the 115th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division during World War I. Having attained the rank of first lieutenant, he was leading his men during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive when he died October 16, 1918.
The U.S. government recognized his sacrifice by awarding him with a Distinguished Service Cross for “extraordinary heroism” and praised him for his “display…[of] the greatest bravery and heroism” before his death. He received further honors in 1919 when the Court of Appeals commissioned architects J.B. Noel Wyatt and William Nolting to build a bronze memorial honoring him and five other Baltimore attorneys who had died in the war and in 1921, when the Maryland Bar Association commissioned a similar memorial.
When Israel Rosenfeld died on October 10, 1925, he left $10,000 for the pavilion’s construction in Druid Hill Park. Baltimore was a city with a history of tolerance towards the Jews, particularly those of German heritage, in the early 1900s. The Rosenfelds had thrived in this environment, and Israel wanted to ensure that Baltimoreans would remember his late son’s military achievements and sacrifice for years to come.