The Gothic and Romanesque revival monument is made of brownstone from Portland, Connecticut. It was designed by Hartford architect George Keller, whose ashes were buried in the east tower when he died in 1935, along with those of his wife, Mary, who died in 1946.
The arch was dedicated on September 17, 1886 the anniversary of the Battle of Antietam to honor the 4,000 Hartford citizens who served in the Civil War, and the 400 who died for the Union. It is the first permanent triumphal arch, as well as the first permanent war memorial, constructed in the U.S. The memorial features terra cotta friezes on the north side, New York sculptor Samuel Kitson showed the story of the Civil War; on the south side, the City of Hartford, represented by a female figure, welcomes the soldier's home in a scene sculpted by Casper Buberl. Albert W. Entress sculpted the life-size figures at the base of each tower.
The arch marks the entrance to what was once the bridge that crossed the Park River. Its 97-step stairwell takes visitors to the top of the monument where a panoramic view of Bushnell Park and the greater Hartford area can be enjoyed. For more information on the tower tours, visit the Bushnell Park Foundation website.