Visiting the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument used to feel like a trip to the drab, gray past. Sure, we should pay our respects to Civil War vets but man, 1894 sure seemed dank, musty and monochrome.
Turns out the past was more colorful than we thought. Thanks to a $2 million renovation, we can see what Clevelanders saw 116 years ago when Public Square's war memorial opened: brilliant rose-and-ocher-colored columns and window trim, a blue and green ceiling, multicolored military emblems on the floors.
"It's like going, in The Wizard of Oz, from black and white to Technicolor," says Neil Evans, president of the monument commission.
Two curators at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History gave the renovation a huge boost, helping to preserve the 38 marble slabs etched with the names of the 9,000 Cuyahoga County residents who served in the Civil War. An exhibit opening Aug. 7 at the museum in University Circle illustrates the science behind their contributions. Here's a look at what's different.