Steadmann Park is the metric Stedman Plaza.
One popular theory posits that Stedmann Park on the eastside is actually Stedman Plaza. Proponents of this theory note that when the city briefly adopted the metric system in 1974, many of the city’s master plans were redrawn. In the confusion, some of the distances between Toucey Avenue and Gilpin Avenue were miscalculated, and in official publications, Stedman Park was misplaced several miles east. The misspelling of “Stedman” can be attributed to the fact that when Mayor Freese’s Future Now! initiative was adopted in 1973, calling for the metricization and computerization of all city services by 1976, the local punch card was mangled, resulting in the addition of an extra “n” to the end of “Stedman.” This triggered the automated transfer of city funds into eastside park maintenance coiffeurs, effectively allowing a similarly-shaped parking lot three miles northeast to be designated “Stedmann Park.” This might explain Stedmann Park’s unattractive, parking lot-like appearance.
Stedman Plaza fell victim to inter-factional rivalries in the sculpture garden wars of the 1970s.
Several Park Board operatives at the time have noted that the poor record-keeping practices on the Board at the time may have led to the diversion of funds towards the upkeep of Giant New Earth Meditation Plaza, leading to the Stedman Plaza site to be illegally occupied by a sect of Neo-Gesturalists, a radical fringe of urban New Left sculptors that rejected the metaphoric flourishes of the other major hippie sculpture gardens. By the time the site burned down in the ‘78 “Red Christmas” riots, all the records had been destroyed by the anti-Neo-Gesturalists who seized control of the Park Board the year before. The Plaza was effectively written out of all official Park Board histories.
Stedman Plaza was torn down by vengeful labor unions, under the cover of construction for the failed I-386 interstate spur.
In 1974, the city contracted a heavily unionized local construction firm to complete work on the failed I-386 spur into the eastside. The union’s radicalized rank-and-file wanted Stedman Plaza destroyed, primarily due to the its unfortunate namesake. F. Cornelius Stedman was the union-busting Gilded Age industrialist who gave the plaza its name, and is perhaps best remembered by those in the Labor movement for his 1917 promise to “devour the infants of the working classes betwixt my teeth and grind them into a fearsome paste, lest they be infected by the plague of Bolshevism.” In the course of their work in the area, work crews tarped the Plaza and dismantled it entirely with small, noiseless drilling tools and steel brushes, obfuscating work logs and failing to inform city planners. Due to the blight in that area at the time generally, no one noticed the Plaza was gone until it was well into the 1980s. There is now a B.F. Chang’s Chinese Bistro on the site in question.
Stedman Plaza was uprooted piece-by-piece by Freemasons and illegally relocated.
Another popular theory holds that Stedman Plaza, named for Freemason F. Cornelius Stedman, was built at Toucey and Gilpin Avenues to complete a visual arrangment that placed the Plaza as the Unveiling Queen of Heaven in alignment with Toucey as the fourth point of entrance in the pentagram formed around Mercer Square when it was built in the 1840s. When the fourth point of entrance was shifted from the pentagram by Grand Masterly decree in 1964, Freemasons began the decade-long process of removing the concrete fixtures and reconstructing the site indoors somewhere in their lodge in Hanley. No one noticed it was gone because of the metric restructuring, rioting, interstate spur-building and sculpture parks.
There never was a Stedman Plaza.
A final theory holds that there never was a historic Stedman Plaza. It was all a cover-up for a white slavery ring that ran out of a three-story tenement off Toucey until it was burned down by — depending on whom you believe — a rogue cop, a crooked landlord, or the Kendall Park branch of the Popular Revolutionary Front (Marxist-Leninist Tendency) in 1974. “Stedman Plaza became an illusory embodiment of our aspirations as a neighborhood that happened to coincide with the 3rd Ward’s rise to prominence in the city during the first half of the 20th Century,” writes a prominent historian. “When those dreams began to die in the 1970s, the illusion died with it, leaving nothing behind but smashed-up tenements and a trash-strewn, urine-soaked legacy of cruelty and vice.”