The daily Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1961-current, August 14, 2015, Image 17

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The Daily Astorian
Friday, August 14, 2015
Weekend Edition
Submitted Photo
A photo taken at Cannon
View Park near the site
of the first post office in
Arch Cape, where the
cannon was found.
When is the cannon coming back?
EO Media Group
he Cannon Beach His-
tory Center and Mu-
seum is working to
save the city’s namesake. So
if you’re one of those who’s
stopped by the museum won-
dering where the cannon is,
the relic is in Astoria await-
ing a new, permanent home.
“People ask every day,
When’s the cannon coming
back?’” said Elaine Trucke,
executive director of the
center and museum.
The cannon is at the Co-
lumbia River Maritime Mu-
seum in storage. The Cannon
Beach History Center and
Museum is raising money
to install an exhibit that will
preserve extensive conser-
vation work, and hopes to
have it back by January. The
exhibit will be presented in a
microenvironment that will
help protect the antique in a
climate-controlled area.
Submitted Photo
The USS Shark’s cannon was red, rusted from years in the
elements, before being sent off to Texas A&M.
Off the Shark
The cannon was on the
USS Shark when it foun-
dered on the Columbia River
Bar in 1846, and had been
used in border disputes and
the West Indies. It washed
up onto a beach in Arch
Cape but was lost in the tide
and not seen again in the
area until 1898.
The cannon sat in front of
Arch Cape’s post office for
years before moving in the
1940s, ending up in private
hands and eventually be-
ing given to the museum in
2005, Trucke said.
In 2010, while comparing
it to other cannons found in
Arch Cape, a representative
from Texas A&M Universi-
ty discovered the underside
was falling apart and was
severely rusted from sitting
outside for more than a cen-
tury. Pieces were falling off.
The museum decided
then to raise the money to re-
store the cannon and the cap-
stan. They shipped it to Col-
lege Station, Texas, in 2012,
where repair work began.
The restoration cost
$50,000 between the con-
servation process and ship-
ping. Coaster Construction
had to tear down a wall to
get the one-ton cannon out
of the museum for repair.
Submitted Photo
The original cannon of Cannon Beach was found in 1898 and
has resided in a variety of locales, from in front of the post
office in Arch Cape, to along Highway 101 at scenic vistas.
Submitted Photo
A crew from Coaster Construction works to get the USS Shark cannon out of the Cannon
Beach History Center and Museum.
The Shark’s capstan, used to
raise and lower the anchor of
a ship, had not been treated
well, either, Trucke said.
Chemical bath
Leading the way in ma-
rine conservation, staff and
students at Texas A&M gave
the cannon a special chemi-
cal bath to remove rust. They
used dental tools on the cap-
stan because it was so deli-
cate, Trucke added.
The cannon and capstan
were both later dipped into
wax, which soaks into the
objects and creates a protec-
tive seal, she noted. It was
returned to Cannon Beach
last fall. “When they got
here and we opened up the
crates, the cannon and cap-
stan looked like they were
brand new off the ship,”
Trucke said.
But the museum did not
have the facilities for prop-
erly storing or displaying
the cannon. Trucke said the
cannon and capstan need a
humidity level of 40 percent
or lower. The museum has a
humidity level of about 60
While planning began for
a future exhibit, scheduled
for January, the cannon and
capstan were shipped to the
maritime museum. They
now await a return to Can-
non Beach.
A GoFundMe account
called “Save Our Cannon”
seeks to help pay for the
design, construction and
installation of the new ex-
hibit, estimated at a cost of
$30,000. The museum plans
to hire Formations, a de-
sign company in Portland,
to construct the microenvi-
ronment. The Braemar Trust
recently awarded the muse-
um $10,000 for the project.
Remaining funds are being
sought through contribu-
“What a great cause for
something so important to
our history,” wrote Kelly
Mauer, who made a donation
on GoFundMe.
Cultural identity
The cannon, Trucke said,
Submitted Photo
Submitted Photo
The Cannon Beach History
Center and Museum’s cap-
stan after a chemical treat-
ment at Texas A&M.
Juanita Kincaid and Rob-
ert Kenney sit on top of
the cannon in Arch Cape in
has become a part of the
city’s cultural identity and
an international tourist at-
traction. “It’s almost as icon-
ic of an image as Haystack
Rock,” she said.
It even has a cocktail
named after it.
If the funds are raised
and the exhibit moves
ahead as planned, the can-
non will be a celebration
for not just Cannon Beach,
but for Arch Cape and
South County.
“It’s the community’s,”
Trucke said, “it’s not the mu-