Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Construction of Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial

Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial
Put-In-Bay, South Bass Island
Courtesy of the National Park Service

2013 marked the Bicentennial of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry’s victory on Lake Erie that ended British control of the Great Lakes. The naval battle was a pivotal moment in the War of 1812. As the occasion drew near, Put-in-Bay, the site where Perry set sail to meet the British fleet, was jam packed with events to commemorate the historic occasion. Much of the activity took place at Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial.

As early as the 1850s, monument associations attempted to establish a memorial to Perry on South Bass Island and nearby Gibraltar, but each time ideas, money, and plans seemed to fizzle. As the 100th anniversary neared, the Inter-State Board of the Perry’s Victory Centennial Commission was formed. With funds from states surrounding the Great Lakes, the commission decided to build a memorial to the long-lasting peace between the U.S., Canada, and Great Britain that followed Perry’s Victory.

After choosing architects Joseph H Freedlander and Joseph D. Seymour’s design in a national competition, the commission broke ground in the fall of 1913. The following 4th of July, the cornerstone was laid. Prominent photographer Otto Herbster was contracted to photograph the monument’s construction.
Construction of Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial
Taken by Otto Herbster as the Work Crew Reached the 16th Course
Charles E. Frohman Collection

Herbster’s photographs captured the workmen as they built forms, hauled sand and gravel, and shaped and built 79 courses of pink granite. The Doric column reaches 352 feet above Lake Erie. Its 9 ½ foot thick domed walls and ceiling feature Indiana limestone.

Put-In-Bay: The Construction of Perry's Monument by Jeff Kissel
Arcadia Publishing
Nearby, you can see Mr. Herbster’s photo of the monument as the 16th course was reached and another taken in March 1914 of the full construction crew. To see more of Otto Herbster’s great photos of the construction of the monument, see Jeff Kissel’s fine work by Arcadia Publishing. Online, go to HISTORYPIN and click on South Bass Island on the map. There you can see a slideshow of 28 of Mr. Herbster’s monument construction photos. Better yet, when winter ends (!)head for the Bay this summer and enjoy the magnificent view from the top of this great monument - the 4th tallest in the United States.
Construction Crew of  Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial
Photo by Otto Herbster, March 1914
Charles E. Frohman Collection

A version of this post appeared during the Bicentennial in Lifestyles 2000.

1 comment:

Dorene from Ohio said...

So much history at South Bass Island! Great post!