The granite archway was dedicated in 1918 to honor William H. Perry, who had served as superintendent of the Wheeler & Wilson Manufacturing Company, a sewing machine producer that would later be acquired by Singer.
Perry had also been president of the city’s Parks Commission, and his will left money for the creation of a gateway to Seaside Park.
The front (northwest) face of the monument, facing away from the park, bears the inscription “Perry Memorial Arch” and the dedication date near the top. Further down, set on the center support between the two arches, is a large bronze plaque depicting a luxuriantly bearded Perry standing with an allegorical figure. A dedication at the bottom of the plaque explains the arch was dedicated to Perry’s memory by his wife, Harriet Adeline Perry.
The archway also bears a number of decorative elements. Grass can be seen growing from several ledges in the monument’s upper sections.
The Perry archway was designed by archietect Henry Bacon, who also designed the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., and a number of other public scupltures and monuments.
Seaside Park was created in 1865 on land that had been used as a training ground by the 17th Regiment of the Connecticut Volunteer Infantry. Later donations, including land from circus showman and Bridgeport mayor P.T. Barnum, would expand the park to more than 300 acres spread along a 2.5 mile shoreline.
Bridgeport’s elaborate Civil War monument, Barnum statue and other monuments will be highlighted during the rest of this week.