By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,445)
Jonathan Taggert, a conservator of artistic and historic objects, and an assistant, worked this morning to prepare three cannons at Ft. Allen park, for removal tomorrow morning. The three historic cannons will be stored at Evergreen Cemetery until they are returned – hopefully in 2014 for the bicentenial celebration of the Park.
Taggert who has a contract with the City of Portland on this project and has done other work for the city’s Public Art Committee, said he will take the cannons down to the white metal using a garnet stone. There are many layers of paint and body oil that need to be removed – until the white metal of the cannons come up. Finally, they will be “cold galvanized” to military specifications using a silica based paint. Two of the cannons are from the Civil War and one is from the USS Maine ship that sank in Pearl Harbor.
The wooden carriages on which the cannons rest will be replaced as they are seriously deterioratied. They will be replaced with what is a historically accurate reproduction made of cast marine aluminium, Taggert said. Although this method is expensive, in the long-term it is more economical because the carriages won’t need to be replaced as frequently. When the cannons are returned to their respective watches on the Hill depends on several things: When the renovations to the Eastern Promenade are completed and when the Friends of the Eastern Promenade has completed its fund raising effort which is underway.
Taggert said this could come as soon as 2014.
Ft. Allen Park is named for a Portlander, William Henry Allen, who commmanded the U.S. Brig “Argus.” The “Argus”got in a battle with the English in St. George’s Channel during the War of 1812. The British ship “Pelican” defeataed the Argus. The twenty-seven year old Allen was seriously injured in the thigh and his leg was amputated before he left his own ship. He was then consigned to a military prison where he later succumbed to his injury. Allen was buried in St. Andrew’s churchyard on August 21st 1813, England. It’s well that he’s remembered in both countries.
The Friends of the Eastern Promenade was formed in early 2007. It was formed to protect some trees that the city had slated for removal. The Friends were able to save one of the trees. It’s mission statement is: “The Friends of the Eastern Promenade is a community organization committed to preserving the significant historic public landscape, protecting its environmental integrity and enhancing recreational use. The 2004 Eastern Promenade Master Plan will guide the orgaization’s activities.” For more information, please visit the http://easternpromenade.org/.