The first piece of monumental sculpture in Ohio was the Oliver Hazard Perry Monument, erected on September 10, 1860 on the northeast quadrant of Cleveland’s Public Square; this sculpture was executed by a Columbus man, William Walcutt. The monument commemorates Perry’s victory at the Battle of Lake Erie. Figures of a midshipman and a sailor boy, also sculpted by Walcutt, were placed on either side of it in 1869.
Walcutt studied surveying and engineering, then traveled to Paris where he studied art. He won the first medal ever awarded an American by the French Academy, for painting. He devoted himself to sculpture comparatively late in life. He died in 1882.
A portrait statue of Dr. Samuel M. Smith, which stood by St. Francis Hospital, is the only other Walcutt commission known.
The original Perry statue, carved by Walcutt in marble, was in storage 1892-1894; was relocated to Wade Park, then Gordon Park, and then was given to the city of Perrysburg, Ohio, where it was re-dedicated in 1937. Two bronze replicas were made possible by funding from Cleveland’s Early Settlers Association of the Western Reserve. One was sold to the State of Rhode Island. The other now stands in Huntington Park outside the Cuyahoga County Courthouse. It was re-dedicated on September 13, 1991.