The Spooky History of Cleveland's Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument

Ralph DiMatteo History

Soldiers and Sailors Monument Cleveland

It's safe to assume that even the most ardent of native Clevelanders probably don't know much about the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument that stands guard on Public Square other than it is an iconic memorial to Cleveland’s Civil War veterans.

However, there is much more to not only its location on Public Square, but the rich and somewhat spooky history that goes along with it.

Above ground, there are many still-standing buildings in Cleveland that trace their origins nearly all the way to the city’s founding in 1796. But how often do you consider that there may very well be additional history beneath the city’s streets?

Well, indeed there is, and quite a bit of it starts beneath the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument itself. Some of these series of underground tunnels are considered to be part of Cleveland’s haunted history.

While the tunnels have served as basement storage at times, they were designed as support for the monument, which, being made of granite, is extremely heavy - all told at over 100 tons. The tunnels are made of unfinished sandstone and are fully functional and creepy at the same time. The tunnels even served for a time as an emergency bomb shelter for the city.

Once down inside this expansive series of dark, damp, and creepy tunnels, it is not hard to imagine supernatural sightings or beings being present. Darkness and uncertainty always seem to heighten one’s imagination, but this seems a little different.

The thing that caught our attention in research for this post was the fact that any actual sightings only seem to end up being visible when photographed. There were no reported instances of sightings that we found otherwise.

Tours of the tunnels only take place once a year. That may account for the limited number of haunted stories to be investigated, but nonetheless, it is the consistency of those stories that always aids in their credibility.

It is one thing for witnesses to say they have heard footsteps or voices - that’s easy - but when they are described in very similar ways by people who have no connection to one another over several different years, that is when things begin to get interesting.

Possible hauntings aside, this Cleveland jewel - designed and sculpted by one of Cleveland’s own, Levi Scofield - is well worth a trip downtown to see and read the marble tablets of the names of 9,000 soldiers immortalized as part of the monument.

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