After an extensive rejuvenation, Public Square has transformed into a modern, urban greenspace teeming with sights and sounds like the calm spray from the splash fountain, the hum of the lunch crowd eating along its lawn and the clickety-clack of passersby heading to food trucks, farmer’s markets and live musicians often stationed along its perimeter.
But there's something that's been there all along, quietly watching over Public Square since 1894 — The Soldiers & Sailors Monument. Through the decades of boom and bust; through the population growth, decline and resurgence; through the many generations of First Amendment rights being exercised on Public Square, it stood: a symbol of steadfastness, determination and historical importance.
The monument is a reminder of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County's significant contributions to the Civil War.
What You’ll See:
- The Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument is so much more than just an old fixture on Public Square. High atop the monument's column sits a statue of the Goddess of Freedom, defended by the Shield of Liberty. At the base of the memorial, four bronze battle scenes unfold on the esplanade depicting the Navy, Artillery, Infantry and Cavalry.
- Many people who gaze up at the 125-foot-high spire don't realize that beneath it is a free museum that commemorates the 9,000 Civil War veterans that served with Cuyahoga County regiments or lived in Cuyahoga County. You can walk right in — free of charge — to escape the hustle and bustle of Downtown for a moment, and reflect on some serious history.
What Else to Do?
- The Memorial Room is downright impressive. A collection of artifacts from the Civil War — including weapons, journals, clothing and pictures — are showcased alongside walls etched with the names of Cuyahoga County Civil War veterans. Four bronze relief sculptures depict the Women's Soldiers' and Sailors' Aid Society, the Beginning of the War in Ohio, the Emancipation of the Slaves and the End of the War at City Point, Va.