Those walking near the Patterson Park Pagoda may notice that the cannons are gone.
The cannons, a mixture of land and sea guns which date back as far as the 1630s, have been temporarily removed and will be restored, said Jennifer Arndt-Robinson, executive director of the Friends of Patterson Park.
All that remains are the bases, and even those won’t be there too much longer.
“The cannons are going to be completely restored, and they will have new bases built for them,” said Arndt-Robinson.
She said that she anticipates that the cannons will be back in two or three months, but certainly in time for the Hampstead Hill Festival, a celebration commemorating the 200-year anniversary of the day a huge force of Americans—mostly volunteers—stood off would-be British invaders during the War of 1812, likely saving Baltimore from the sacking and burning that occurred in Washington, D.C., at the hands of the British.
It happened in present-day Patterson Park, near the location of the Pagoda.
The festival will also include performance by the Baltimore Rock Opera Society, introduced by the governor. As in most historical events in greater Baltimore, expect reenactments.
“We anticipate reenactors sleeping in the park,” said Arndt-Robinson.
The cannons are being restored by Cannons Online (cannonsonline.com), a Maryland company in the business of recreating artillery from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, as well as restoring original war artifacts. On its website, the company says it is made up of “historians of artillery and, more importantly, experts in modern industrial manufacturing.”
Arndt-Robinson said that the cannons will be dipped in a chemical bath to remove the various coatings that have been added over the years. The guns’ conditions will be assessed, and restorative work will be done.
“They’re not going to lose the patina that makes them look historic,” said Arndt-Robinson, though they will be protected from further corrosion, she added.
The cannon restoration is being funded by a grant from the Star Spangled 200 Commission. “[The condition of the cannons] came onto our radar over the past year,” said Arndt-Robinson.”There’s a lot of funding available right now for the War of 1812 and the Battle of Baltimore.” “These cannons should be good to go for probably another 100 years,” she added.
by Erik Zygmont