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Historic Preservation: Douglas Cannon and Bell

In November 2008, to celebrate Alaska's 50th Year of Statehood, Mark Whitman provided a slideshow presentation for stores and history surrounding the mysterious Douglas Cannon and Bell. This public event was held at Mt Jumbo Gym locals and the old Douglas School Alumni. These historic items were recently restored and are currently on display outside the Douglas U.S. Post Office.  The Douglas 4th of July Committee provided refreshments and decorations for the event.

Cannon RefurbishmentMt Bradley Enterprises Corporation refurnished the carronade (cannon) and bell located in front of the Douglas U. S. Post Office. Two cement pads were constructed to serve as new bases. Historic BellLeif Le (in the photo with Pat Peterson) and Travis Larsen worked on the project. The artifacts were once in front of the old Douglas City Hall Building. The installation dates are unknown. The carronade was once mounted on a frame on top of the bell. Val Poor moved them to the current Douglas U. S. Post Office when the new Douglas Fire Station/Library was constructed.

The Iron Bell
There are no markings on the bell.  Students of the Douglas High School raised $100.00 to purchase a new bell for the building. The bell arrived on the S.S. Jefferson 01/19/1914. The bell and frame weighed about 900 lbs.  It was hoisted up to the belfry and rang out at 1:00 pm 10/26/1914.

In 1937 the big fire destroyed the school and wrecked the bell, thus rendering it useless.


The Carronade (cannon)

By Mark Whitman
The gun that now sits in front of the Douglas U. S. Post Office was created by the foundry of Bailey, Pegg & Co. of London, England sometime between 1840 & 1850.  Commonly used aboard fur trade vessel or in for bastion of the Northwest, this gun is known as a “trunnioned carronade” or a”gunade.”  Made of ion ore take from the English West midlands, its forged letters clearly state that is a 4 hundred weight, quarter, 9 pounds or 485 pounds.  More commonly know as a”6 Pounder” with the production number 963.

At the turn of the last century, this gun was used by the patriotic citizens of Douglas and Treadwell to celebrate the nation’s birthday with roaring national salutes.

For safety, Ed Hildreband welded an ore ball into the barrel in the 1950’s.  The “cannon” balls next to the gun came from the Treadwell Mine and were used in ore crushing.

City Of Douglas, Alaska Seal

Douglas 4th of July Committee
PO Box 240765
Douglas, AK 99824-0765

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