Wednesday, February 20, 2008

 

Cannons found on Oregon coast could be from 1846 ship

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Statesnab journal
February 19, 2008

CANNON BEACH — A pair of cannons found on the Oregon Coast over the holiday weekend may have come from a ship that ran aground in 1846.

Historians and archaeologists say the cannons may be the remaining cannons of the three that were aboard the survey schooner USS Shark. The first cannon was found in 1898 and is the namesake of Cannon Beach, about four or five miles north of Arch Cape, where the other cannons were found over the Presidents Day holiday.

The first of the two latest cannons was spotted by Mike Petrone of Tualatin, and his daughter, Miranda, while they were walking on the beach last Saturday.

The second was spotted Monday while a state park official was documenting the discovery of the first one.

Petrone said he and his daughter first thought the cannon was an old stump.

“I go, ’Gee, that’s a funny looking stump.’ Miranda said, ’I don’t think it’s wood, Dad. It’s rusting,”’ Petrone said.

So the pair did a bit of digging and soon the rough form of a cannon took shape. Petrone called the Cannon Beach Historical Society. Before long, the mayor showed up to check out Petrone’s discovery.

Petrone, 40, said he’s thrilled he and his daughter found the lost cannon.

“I’m ecstatic,” he said. “I have been on that beach since I was a little tot. I haven’t found anything bigger than a glass ball. To find this was pretty amazing. I was in awe.”

Gary McDaniel, a supervisor with the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department’s Nehalem Bay management unit, said the cannons appear to be two of the three cannons that were mounted on the USS Shark.

McDaniel said the cannons are heavily encrusted, still have their wood mounts and are “in pretty good shape.”

He said the state archaeologist and other state parks officials will handle their removal.

David Pearson, curator at the Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria, said the USS Shark was launched from the Washington, D.C., naval yard. He said it will take a couple of days to determine whether the cannons are from the Shark.

If they do turn out to be from the ship, “they would be very significant to the history of Oregon.”

Joanne Hill, a longtime resident of Arch Cape, said the discovery has been the talk of the community.

“It’s thrilling,” she said. “The whole neighborhood and town are abuzz. It really is quite a wonderful discovery.”


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