Starting in the 1880s, many cities and towns across the country began creating monuments and memorials in order to honor those who gave their lives During the Civil War. Willoughby was one such place. The G.A.R Post #74 of Willoughby, also known as the A.Y. Anston Post, decided to build this monument. This fraternal group of local Union Army Veterans appointed George W. Clement as head of the building committee that would oversee construction. Willoughby Civil War Monument is located in downtown Willoughby, Ohio at the intersection of River Road, Euclid Avenue, and Erie Street. It pays tribute to the 160 Willoughby men who served in the Civil War.
This monument was created to honor those local Union soldiers who lost their lives fighting for liberty. Therefore, Clement and the building committee took care in the contractor. They held a competition, and in March 1885 they accepted the design of Carabelli & Braggini. Joseph Carabelli was the primary sculptor. The total cost of the monument was billed at $1400.
The 18-foot-high Willoughby Civil War monument, hewn from Richmond Granite, consists of a three-tiered stage and column that is 12 feet tall and topped by a statue of a 6-foot-tall soldier standing at "parade-rest." Inscribed on the second tier are the four names of famous battles: Perryville, Chickamauga, Wilderness, and Antietam. Each battle has its own side of the square base. These battles are significant for the city because each of these battles featured soldiers from Willoughby. Etched on the third level are the individual names of all 160 Willoughby Civil War soldiers. They are listed alphabetically around each side of the monument. Extending from the third base is a shaft that is four feet high. The United States' coat of arms is carved into the north side of this pillar, meanwhile, on the west side, the artillery emblems of cannon and balls. Additionally, the south side of the pole includes a set of crossed anchors and crossed sabers, and finally, on the east side there is a representation of Fort Fisher. The Union soldier stands on top of the column.
The Willoughby Civil War Monument was dedicated on July 4, 1885, but the final addition to the monument was not made until July 4, 1901, when a 125-foot flagpole was raised. The dedication ceremony consisted of about six to eight thousand people. The most important addition came fifteen years later when the town's surviving Civil War veterans dedicated a ten-inch Columbiad cannon as an additional memorial to the monument area. The cannon has an interesting story. It was not a replica, but instead had great significance. The cannon came from Baltimore's Fort McHenry, which ties Willoughby and its role in the Civil War with the pivotal role that Fort McHenry played in another war, the War of 1812.