|Location:||Intersection of Main and High Streets|
|Location Use:||Recreational Park|
|Year Built:||1805, 1876, 1883|
|Architect/Builder:||Founding Fathers of Mount Vernon|
|Original Owner:||Benjamin Butler|
The Public Square, at the intersection of Main and High Streets, has been a focal point of downtown Mount Vernon since the city was platted in 1805, and has become an important gathering place for the community. When the founding fathers platted the main streets of Mount Vernon, the Public Square, donated to the city by founding father Benjamin Butler, was nothing but open land reserved for produce markets and other social gatherings, with a public well located in the center where the Soldiers' Monument currently stands. In 1863, Clement L. Vallandigham, perhaps one of the most noted Copperheads of the Civil War, gave his famous anti-war speech on the northwest corner of West High Street and the Public Square, near where the High Restaurant currently stands. In the center of the Square is a small park landscaped with grass, shade trees, flowerbeds, walkways, and benches. The small central park was likely created shortly after the Soldiers' Monument was erected in 1876. Historic photographs show that this small park was circular, and without flowerbeds or shade trees to obscure the Soldiers Monument. In 1883, Charles Cooper donated a copper fountain to further enhance the growing beauty of the Public Square. The park was enlarged from a circle to a square with rounded corners sometime in the mid-1890s. In addition to the Soldiers' Monument, which commemorates the Civil War veterans and casualties, a brick Veteran's Walk of Honor and a Korean War Monument further sanctify the park as a place of reflection. It is also an educational place. Several interactive kiosks are present to provide information on the trees, plants, and other significant items within the park, including a grindstone. An Ohio Historical Marker has been placed on the north side of the park to commemorate Civil War Nurse Mary Ann Ball Bickerdyke, otherwise known as "Mother Bickerdyke," who was born near downtown Mount Vernon. The Public Square is a unique feature to Mount Vernon, as it is the only round-about in the county.