Lumber baron Charles H. Hackley is known for his many philanthropies to the citizens of Muskegon, but none is more appreciated than Hackley Park. Hackley purchased the block and had the buildings razed, the ground landscaped, and erected the statue in the center. This small, flat oasis of trees and greenery within the surrounding residential historic district has become a symbol of the past and oftentimes functions as the very heart of the city.
Chicago landscape gardener and designer Benson was summoned to Muskegon in 1890 to draw up a plan highlighting and enhancing another of Hackley's philanthropies, the Civil War commemorative Soldiers and Sailors Monument by Joseph B. Carabelli. The park was planned, in essence, as the frame for this memorial and to this end it functions very well. The monument is a huge Corinthian column that rises eighty-two feet from its granite base. Topping it, a bronze female figure of Victory wields her banner aloft. On the four corners of the column's pedestal are four seven-foot-high bronze statues representing each of the four branches of service during the Civil War. Four antique lamp standards encircle the central monument. Later gifts of Hackley, they were an early attempt to illuminate the monument at night. The monument is surrounded by an ornate and intricate cast-iron fence whose design incorporates symbols significant to the cessation of the war. In 2009 the Hackley Heritage Association funded the installation of a replica of the historic iron fence.
Radiating from the central monument to the park's four corners are four diagonal walkways. A secondary ovoid walkway encircles the park halfway between the monument and the sidewalk beyond. On each of the park's four outside corners are large bronze statues of Civil War heroes: Lincoln and Farragut by C. H. Niehaus and Grant and Sherman by J. Massey Rhind.