Skip to comments.Pair of cannons found on Oregon Coast could be from 1846 ship
Posted on 02/19/2008 11:20:33 AM PST by Squidpup
The discovery of a pair of pre-Civil War era cannons on the Oregon Coast this week has caused a stir among archeologists, historians and coast residents who have flocked to Arch Cape to get a look.
The cannons, which residents and a state park official speculate came from the USS Shark, a survey schooner that ran aground on the Columbia Bar in 1846, washed up this week. One appeared Saturday and the other appeared Monday night as a state park official was documenting the discovery of the first one. The first cannon was spotted by a Tualatin father and daughter, Mike and Miranda Petrone.
Petrone said he and Miranda were walking along the beach and spotted stumps in the coast, but something about one of the stumps looked a little odd.
"I go, 'Gee, that's a funny looking stump.' Miranda said, 'I don't think it's wood, Dad. It's rusting.'"
So the pair did a bit of digging a 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 three cannons that were mounted on the USS Shark. The first cannon washed up in 1898 and is the namesake of Cannon Beach, about four or five miles north of Arch Cape.
The cannons that washed up this week are the same dimension as that of the original cannon. McDaniel said the cannons are heavily encrusted, still have their wood mounts and are "in pretty good shape." He said the state archeologist and other state parks officials are headed to the beach this afternoon to examine them and coordinate their removal. A park ranger remained at the site overnight to ensure the cannons were not tampered with.
"Our phones are ringing off the hook with our own people trying to coordinate the recovery," McDaniel said.
According to Wikipedia, the USS Shark, a U.S. Navy schooner, was ordered to Honoluly in the spring of 1846 for repairs before an exploratory voyage up the Columbia River. The vessel reached the Oregon Coast that July and crossed the Columbia River bar.
But the ship ran into trouble upon its return, according to Wikipedia.
The crew, according to the entry, knew the bar had shifted since the vessel's initial crossing and tried to prepare to cross again. But the vessel ran aground Sept. 10 after hitting an "uncharted shoal and was swept into the breakers by a swift tide," the entry states.
The ship was lost but the crew was saved.
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 this morning the discovery has set the community atwitter.
"It's thrilling," she said. "The whole neighborhood and town are abuzz. It really is quite a wonderful discovery."
Some WMD take longer to find than others.
Way cool story!
yeah ... ‘specially when they’re buried in sand.
Cannon Beach is one of my favorite places on the west coast.
Rounding Cape Horn in a schooner must have been a frightening experience.
“Cannon Beach is one of my favorite places on the west coast.”
Totally agree. What a beautiful place
As Nipsy Russell said on a game show “Match Game”. “I want to boogie with Adrienne Barbeau. She boogies fast and I boogie slow”.
——If they do turn out to be from the ship, “they would be very significant to the history of Oregon.” ——
Even more exciting would be cannons from Sir Francis Drake’s ship. I forget all the details, but he is rumored to have come up that far north - but fudged his ship logs so folks wouldn’t know where he had really been. I recall someone in Oregon had said they had found a sword from Drake’s ship and had it verified, but of course someone stole it and the documents were lost.....
The two reasons to ever watch “Swamp Thing”
and “Escape from New York”
No, atwitter and abuzz, according to the last couple of lines. Arrr...
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