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 triumphal arch was built to memorialize the 4,000 Hartford citizens who served in the U.S. Civil War, and the 400 who died for the Union. It features terra cotta friezes on the north side New York sculptor Samuel Kitson showed the story of the Civil War; the City of Hartford, represented by a female figure on the south side, welcomes the soldier's home in a scene sculpted by Casper Buberl. Buberi also sculpted the life-size figures at the base of each tower.
The arch was dedicated on September 17, 1886 the anniversary of the Battle of Antietam. Thousands of veterans flooded into the city for the celebration and the arch was heralded as one of the finest tributes to Civil War veterans in the land.
Over time, the original terra cotta angelsGabriel and Raphaelatop each tower were irreparably damaged by weather and were replaced in 1988 by replica bronze sculptures as part of a $1.5 million restoration to the great monument.
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 views of Bushnell Park, the captiol and downtown Hartford can be enjoyed. Arch tours are run by the Bushnell Park Foundation on Thursdays from noon 1:30 pm, beginning the first Thursday in May through the end of October. Tours are free.
Spanning Trinity Street, which separates the east and west portions of Bushnell Park, the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Arch is often the starting or ending point for parades in the city. In 2011, the arch was rededicated to mark the 125th anniversary of the structure.
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