At a meeting of Camp Barnett, Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Society, in 1879, Comrade William J. Gleason suggested erecting a monument to commemorate Union soldiers and sailors of the Civil War Cuyahoga County. It was unanimously approved and opened on July 4, 1894. Today, it is open most days from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and is a popular attraction in downtown Cleveland. Visitors can also participate in the occasional tunnel tour of the moment as well as enjoy the Victorian Christmas display each year. It is operated by the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument Commission.
Construction on the monument, designed by architect Levi Scofield, began in 1891. Inside the monument are the names of more than 9,000 people who enlisted in the Union army from Cuyahoga County. There are sculptures and images of Union leaders as well as a number of relics. A 125-foot shaft rises above the monument’s roof with a fifteen-foot figure of Lady Liberty on the top.
Outside, the monument features four groups of bronze statues representing the Infantry, Artillery, Cavalry and the Navy, each depicted in battle. In the background are military and naval emblems.
Both Public Square and the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument underwent major renovations that were completed in the summer of 2016.