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The mystery of the cannon

Frontier DiaryWilla SoncartyRegistrar, Frontier Historical Society and Museum
Photo Courtesy Frontier Historical SocietySometimes, what is not seen in a photograph is as important as what is seen in a photograph. This photograph of the Federal Building at 900 Grand Ave. was taken in the 1920s. Absent from view in the grounds is a cannon reportedly having been sent to Glenwood Springs by the federal government for display. Supposedly installed on the north side of the Colorado River upon its arrival in about 1917, the cannon was to be moved to the Federal Building grounds upon the buildings completion in 1919. However, no record can be found of the cannons arrival in Glenwood Springs, making its possible existence one of Glenwood Springs unsolved mysteries.
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The headline in the Avalanche Echo newspaper of April 1, 1915, announced the news. “A Big Cannon is at the Disposal of Glenwood Springs. Congressman Taylor has arranged with the Government to send one here. Now the Question is, Where Shall we Put It?”Congressman Taylor worked diligently for his constituents’ interests. With patriotism on his mind as World War I raged in Europe, Taylor introduced legislation to place obsolete artillery in city parks across the United States. A vote in Congress passed the measure. On June 14, 1915, members of the Glenwood Springs City Council read a letter from Taylor, asking for the city’s acceptance of the cannon for display in Glenwood Springs. Council accepted Taylor’s offer.However, as with all unexpected gifts, the debate as to where to place the cannon and at what cost was begun. Glenwood Springs did not have a central city park. Little room existed on the courthouse grounds. The wheels of government turned slowly, and in the months to follow, nothing was noted in the newspapers or in council minutes regarding the cannon’s impending arrival or its placement. Then, on May 7, 1917, the Glenwood Springs City Council empowered Mayor Kerwin to have the cannon placed on the north side of the river near the old Cooper Avenue Bridge abutment. This was to be a temporary location until the completion of the Federal Building at 900 Grand Ave.However, if the cannon was installed, nothing was noted in the press. Additionally, no photos to date have been located verifying the cannon’s placement in Glenwood Springs.Did Glenwood Springs receive the cannon, or was its arrival in Glenwood Springs derailed by World War I? If the community did receive the cannon, then what became of it?Perhaps the mystery of the missing cannon will never be solved. However, if anyone has information about this tiny but perplexing piece of Glenwood Springs history, please contact the Frontier Historical Museum. The museum’s phone number is 945-4448.”Frontier Diary” is provided to the Post Independent by the Frontier Historical Society and Museum, 1001 Colorado Ave., Glenwood Springs. Summer hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.


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