Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Cannon on the Square

Generations of Medina's children have clambered over the cannon in the Public Square. Fess up! Either you or your kids are guilty of this desecration!

Have you ever wondered where the gun came from and how it ended up in the park?

If you have, the different plaques on the gun probably just confused you even more.

This plaque is underneath the back of the gun. The green patina of the aged metal is beautiful. However, everything on this plaque is wrong for the gun that sits above it.

This is the manufacturer's plaque. It tells us that the gun is a 57 mm carriage gun that was produced by International Harvester in Chicago in 1945. Now painted over, originally this label would have been black and silver.

This plaque is under the barrel of the gun. Accurate in all that it does say. It is what it doesn't say that I find puzzling.

When was it placed in the square? Where was it before it came to Medina? Why did it come to Medina? Who was involved?

And where do you go when you have these kinds of questions?  You go to the library!

Which is just what a library member did earlier this week. He came to me, asking these very questions. And I started pulling out resource after resource with no success. He had already been to the Medina County Historical Society, but no luck there. His next stop was going to be Post 202 of the American Legion.

But as often happens, I was left wondering, so I continued to dig. After all, another library member could come by any day with the same questions.

And look what I found!
Medina Gazette September 23, 1947, page 8.
This article explains that Charles Lawrence & Ralph Waite of American Legion Post 202 lobbied to get a "memento" of World War II to replace the gun from World War I that used to sit on the cement base. Being frugal Medinians, there was no need to pay for a new base when there was already a perfectly good base going unused. And the article tells that the gun had been at the Erie proving grounds before coming to Medina. The date of the article, 1947 tells us when the gun was moved.

In later articles found online, Ralph Waite says that originally there were three guns that came to Medina. 
  1. The one on Public Square.
  2. One in front of the VFW Hall on North Broadway
  3. One in front of the VFW on Pearl Road, north of Medina.
So the next time someone asks me about the cannon on the square...


Cate said...

This is crazy that you're writing about this now... My husband and I were walking around the square two weeks ago and he wondered about these plaques. I'm sharing this with him so he can have the full story!
*I knew I recognized that guy in the photo! ;)

Mary Anne Cella said...

I think it is neat that the WWI gun was turned in so the metal in it could be used in WWII.