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Elias Howe statue, BridgeportThe first statue erected in Bridgeport’s Seaside Park honors local industrialist and Civil War hero Elias Howe, Jr.

The monument was dedicated in 1884 to honor Howe, who invented the first practical sewing machine and built a Bridgeport factory to build the machines. Several inventors created similar machines about the same time as Howe, but he was awarded the U.S. patent for his device after several years of litigation.

The Howe statue faces southeast, toward the western end of the park (the Perry Memorial Arch is visible in the background of the first image in this post). Howe is depicted with a cane in one hand and a hat in the other.

In addition to his industrial success, Howe was known in Bridgeport for his patriotism during the Civil War. He enlisted as a private in the 17th Regiment of the Connecticut Volunteer Infantry, and donated money to help equip the unit.

In the statue, a regimental service medal appears on the left breast of Howe’s overcoat.

Elias Howe statue, BridgeportThe regiment’s training ground would later form the basis of Seaside Park.

The monument was sculpted by Salathiel Ellis, who also created statues of Abraham Lincoln and portrait painter Gilbert Stuart.


Smithsonian American Art Museum, Art Inventories Catalog

Elias Howe statue, Bridgeport


One Response to “Elias Howe statue, Bridgeport”

  1. Rob Andre' Stevens says:

    On this page, an incorrect statement has been made, i.e. “In the statue, a regimental service medal appears on the left breast of Howe’s overcoat.” Actually the medal shown was NOT Regimental at all, it is/was representative of the ‘Legion of Honor Medal’, which was awarded to Howe for his sewing machine, i.e. by the French Gov’t at the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1867. Howe died a few months later after his return to the States in Oct ’67, from a blood clot that had resulted from complications of gout.