John Ferguson Weir, the designer of this monument, was a Professor of Art at Yale and was the brother of American Impressionist J. Alden Weir. The design was based on the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates near the Acropolis in Athens, and was dedicated with a speech by orator William Jennings Bryant. The funds for the public fountain were donated by Philo Sherman Bennett, a New Haven philanthropist. The City Beautiful Movement, which strove to improve urban life through civic beautification and improvement projects, sprung to life at the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893. City Beautiful urban planners used classical sources for their work.