Remembering Seaside Park
By Richard Sattanni 10/29/18
Join me now as we literally take a trip back in time and share some history of Seaside Park. Yes, our own Seaside Park offers more than swimming, fishing, and boating.
The very first part of our trip begins at the entrance way as we enter Park Avenue’s entrance. The Perry Memorial Arch greets us as it stands majestically awaiting our passage. This arch was dedicated to William H. Perry at a cost of seventy five thousand dollars in the year 1918. This is only our first stop along the way as we enter the 325 acre park some of which once belonged to P. T. Barnum. The park was one of several properties belonging to Mr. Barnum.
At just about the center of the park sits a statue of the most famous showman P.T. Barnum. The huge bronze statue depicts him very cleverly; it seems he’s just eternally viewing the massive sound from his seated position.
As we move further, we come across another statue. This is one of the great sewing machine inventor, Elias Howe. This statue overshadows another view of the ocean. Not far from Mr. Howe’s statue stands yet another one which is that of Christopher Columbus. Again, this big statue seems to be standing attentively as though it too were viewing the mighty ocean. These statues mentioned are a must see for anyone, especially a history buff.
Later on as our trip progresses we will come upon that of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. This was erected in memory of and honor of those who died in the Civil War. The statue was erected August 29th, 1866, but dedicated August 17th, in 1876. Again, Seaside shares part of its history with us as we view this beautiful monument.
As we leave the park our last stop is at Main Street and Park Place. This is where the Bergh Statue stands. This was constructed in 1897. This was built in the house of Henry Bergh, an advocate for the prevention of cruelty to animals and a horse adorns the structure in remembrance.
Just adjacent to the Bergh Statue during the fifties and into some of the later years were a few restaurants. The street along that area was lined with the Buglight Restaurant, the Seawall, and, of course, Homas’. The younger generation always filled the parking lots with their hot rods while they enjoyed the burgers, sodas, shakes, hotdogs, etc. I remember this well as a teenager. This area was always our last stop after cruising through Seaside Park with our radios playing loudly with the music known then as Rock and Roll.
There is so much history at Seaside Park. What was once Barnum’s backyard has indeed brought wonderful memories back for me and I hope for you, as well. Whether you are a history buff or not it’s a self-guided tour. So take a drive, a stroll perhaps, or even a bus and enjoy some of Bridgeport’s past. I am sure you will be glad you did.