Ohio’s American Civil War soldiers and civilians sought to commemorate the troopers’ devotion to and service with the United States by constructing monuments and other memorials.
During the American Civil War, Ohio provided the federal government with 260 regiments of men, including infantry, artillery, and cavalry units. Ohioans also served in several other regiments from other states, most notably from Kentucky, West Virginia, and Massachusetts, as well as in federal units. Almost 330,000 Ohio men, including 5,092 African Americans, served in the Union military during the conflict.
Ohio’s soldiers and civilians sought to commemorate the troopers’ devotion to and service with the United States by constructing monuments and other memorials. Ohioans completed the first of these commemorations during the Civil War, with hundreds more being built after the conflict. Ohioans have built at least 295 monuments to commemorate Civil War veterans, civilians, political leaders, and war-related events in the state. Eighty-six of the state’s eighty-eight counties contain Civil War monuments, with Hamilton County, Lucas County, Lorain County, Brown County, and Franklin County each boasting ten or more memorials each. Only Clinton County and Noble County do not contain Civil War monuments.
In 1880, residents of Geneva, Ohio approved a tax levy to construct a monument to honor the community’s Civil War veterans. The memorial’s total cost was five thousand dollars. Designed by David Richards, the monument consists of three sections. The main portion includes a twenty-eight foot tall sandstone base topped with a three-foot tall eagle, which has its wings extended. On either side of this main section are two sculptures on sandstone bases. One sculpture consists of a Northern soldier standing at parade rest, while the other sculpture is of a Union seaman. These sculptures each stand six-feet four-inches tall. The eagle, soldier, and sailor were cast out of bronze by Maurice J. Power at the National Fine Art Foundry in New York City, New York. The following inscription is engraved upon the memorial: “In memory of the boys who saved the Union in 1861-1865. Army and Navy.”
The monument was formally dedicated on August 3, 1880 at the intersection of Main Street and Broadway Street in Geneva. In 1911, officials had the monument moved to the Geneva Elementary School lot at 119 South Eagle Street in Geneva. In 1927, officials had the memorial cleaned. In 1964, a second cleaning occurred, and repairs were made. In 1995, the entire monument was restored. In 2011, city officials replaced the soldier’s gun, which had been stolen nearly a decade earlier, with a replacement one.
The monument was moved to the Geneva City Civil War Monument and Memorial Park in 2014, which is located near the intersection of Park Street and South Broadway Street in Geneva. During the move, workers discovered a time capsule (a glass jar) in the base of the main portion of the monument.