Totem Pole Tales-The Cannon
Submitted by Nute Chapman
From Onaway Outlook June 29, 2012

Caption #1: 1921 The three schools with the cannon in front.
width="600" Caption #2: FLORENCE SHALOY standing in front of the cannon in 1924.
width="600" Caption #3: THE CANON has been returned to the lawn of the Onaway Courthouse. It was restored by Moran Iron Works and is back just in time for the annual Fourth of July celebration.(Photo by Peter Jakey)
width="600" With the help of Moran Iron Works, the old school cannon has been brought back to life. Moran Iron Works sandblasted, polished and put several coats of preservatives on the cannon. It was then placed back on the courthouse lawn. My gratitude goes out to Tom and his crew.
This cannon was put together by the ordinance department in New York. It is an 1885 Mark III model I Civil War Cannon. It has two different serial numbers on it. It was common to fix the cannons and give them to cities for parks and memorials. Someone of influence had to be involved.
This cannon has had three different homes since it appeared on the lawn in front of the old red brick school building. I say appeared because a lot of research has not turned up any one or any group that was responsible for putting it there. It is in place on a 1921 postcard of the school. We also have a picture of Florence Shaloy standing by the cannon in 1924. Florence was a graduate of the County Normal in 1924. The class built their own yearbook called "The Amitie." This yearbook came to us from Esther Parker of Case, Michigan. It was generous of Esther to Share it with us.
The cannon was left behind when the present school opened its doors in 1963. Sometime later Don Baker spearheaded a project to move the cannon to the new high school. It was at this time that a new Vietnam memorial was built at the school, using the cannon.
This was fine until complaints came about the school gates being closed in the summer and you had to walk in to the memorial. The city then came aboard and checked with the families connected to the memorial and suggested that the cannon be moved next to the Veterans' memorial on the courthouse lawn.
Sometime during its travels it got a paint job and was also welded so the elevation and windage could not be changed, darn, no more riding the cannon and tipping several youngsters into the dirt, or getting several riders on board and pushing the cannon around like a merry-go-round. This game also had its drawbacks. A lot of readers can remember how deep the trench was in the earth from pushing the cannon in circles; in fact one can still locate the original location.
There are a lot of people in the Onaway area who have had some kind of experience, good or bad, with this piece of Onaway history. In fact, if you graduated before 1963, the cannon was a fixture in your life as much as Edna was.
-Onaway Outlook, June 29, 2012, p.3. Retyped by J. Anderson.

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