Have you ever driven past this park on Lakeside Avenue in downtown Cleveland, between Ontario and West 3rd Street?
You probably noticed this statue, erected to the memory of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry and the role he played in the defense of the United States in the Battle of Lake Erie, during the War of 1812. A brief inscription on the reverse describes his accomplishment. This is not just another statue in a city park - this site is significant.
Near the Perry statue is a historical marker, identifying this land as part of Fort Huntington. The text reads:
Near this site Fort Huntington was erected by Captain Stanton Sholes' Company May, 1813.
On June 19, 1813, a part of the British fleet appeared off the fort but was drived away by a storm and no attack was made. General William Henry Harrison and the staff inspected the fort July, 1813.
Erected by the National Society United States Daughters of 1812, Commodore Perry Chapter, Cleveland, Ohio.
Marked on the 125th anniversary of the founding of Cleveland, A.D. 1921. Hon. W.S. Fitzgerald, mayor.
A canon captured from the British fleet during the Battle of Lake Erie has been placed nearby.
The cannon is accompanied by this stone marker, installed in 2002 by the Early Settlers Association of the Western Reserve, describing its history and the significance of the Battle of Lake Erie and the War of 1812.
Another marker, erected on the Navy Bicentennial, in 1975, also commemorates the Battle of Lake Erie. Nearby stands a statue of Jesse Owens. The park also contains a memorial to the Cleveland Peace Officers who died in the line of duty.
So while this park may seem like just another city park, filled with monuments to various persons and groups, it is more than that. It is the site of Fort Huntington, a garrison built to defend this settlement from foreign invasion.