Looking down the barrel of history
By Ted Shorack - The Daily Astorian
After five years of painstaking restoration work, two cannons from a 19th century American ship that surveyed the region are now ready to be displayed at the Columbia River Maritime Museum.
Museum staff used a forklift Tuesday to hoist the 1,300-pound iron cannons and carefully place them in replica wooden carriages and original mounting pieces.
Although the ship was broken apart on the Columbia River bar 168 years ago, the cannons still technically belong to the U.S. Navy.
The museum partnered with the Navy and the state of Oregon to restore and display them.
“To us it’s so much more than just a maritime story,” said Dave Pearson, deputy director of the museum. “This was the dawn of the Oregon territory. This is something that I think has a bigger story to tell.”
The two cannons, known more specifically as carronades, were discovered in 2008 during Presidents Day weekend.
Mike Petrone of Tualatin and his daughter Miranda, who was 12 years old at the time, discovered the first cannon while walking along the beach in Arch Cape. Two days later the second one was found by Sharisse Repp of Tualatin.
Staff with the Nehalem Bay State Park and others had to use a backhoe for the first cannon and dig trenches alongside it before pulling it out.
Both were displayed in tubs at the park as officials tried to determine their origin.