From Mlive.com | By Andrew Dodson
A cast iron replica of a Civil War-era, 13-inch seacoast mortar cannon is now proudly on display in one of Bay City's oldest parks.
Crews on Friday, June 17, were busy installing one of the two 5,000-pound cannons and a replica traffic control shack at Battery Park, located at the four corners of Center Avenue and Jefferson Street. For the past year, the Bay Veterans Foundation nonprofit group has worked to raise more than $100,000 and organize a rebirth for the park, which was first drafted in Bay City village records in 1849.
A re-dedication ceremony is scheduled for 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 21, in front of the Alice and Jack Wirt Library in downtown Bay City. Colonel Roger Donlon, the first Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipient, is the keynote speaker for the 45-minute event.
The ceremony is going to recognize donors and supporters of the rejuvenation project and include appearances by the Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War color guard and a trumpet quartet.
Replica cannons being installed at Battery Park, which won't be firing ammunition, are significantly lighter than the original cannons that used to grace the park in order to save costs.
Here are specifications of the original 13-inch mortar cannon once installed at the park:
(weight, elevation, range, time of flight):
A 6:30 p.m. dinner at the American Legion Post following Tuesday's ceremony is going to include an additional talk by Donlon, in addition to Charles Tuesch, founder of Children's Libraries International, a Vietnam veteran who served as an infantryman with the Americal Division. The dinner costs $15 and reservations are required. To reserve a seat, call 616-822-9498.
The original Battery Park had four cannons.
Battery Park's two original mortars were obtained from Fort Sumter, S.C., where the Civil War started. The two original naval cannons, one weighing 17,000 pounds and another weighing 9,000 pounds, were in service on the USS Hartford at the capture of New Orleans and later at the Battle of Mobile Bay. All four pieces were transferred to the War Production Board in 1942 to be used for World War II scrap.
The replica cannons installed at the park Friday were made by Bay Cast foundry.
The traffic control shack, similar to those used by early railroad companies, is going to serve as an informational kiosk where community groups can post upcoming events and educational materials, said Keith Markstrom, founding member of the Bay Veterans Foundation. Students from Delta College's building trades program built the shack.
The project also includes new sidewalks, plantings and benches.
Markstrom said funds are nearly raised for the $110,000 project. A separate maintenance fund is being set up for the park.