Former “Lawn Ornament” Nearly Ready for Battle

SOLSBERRY, Ind. (AP)_ A Greene County man has nearly completed a five-year “labor of love” restoring a cannon from the Spanish-American War era.    Tim Kirsch bought the cannon at an antique shop in 1970 in Pennsylvania and used it as a lawn ornament until he began restoring it about five years ago with a friend.

    “It’s a lot of work, but it’s a labor of love, and I get a lot of enjoyment out of it,” he said.

    The cannon weighs nearly a ton, and has a 7-foot-long barrel that can shoot a projectile up to three miles, Kirsch said. He said his research found the barrel was forged in 1898 at the Watervliet Arsenal in New York, and the carriage the gun sits on was made in 1899 at the Rock Island Arsenal in Illinois.

    He has not been able to determine whether the cannon, which was rusted out and had a misfired cartridge blocking the barrel when he bought it, was used in the Spanish-American War.

    The retired father of seven began the restoration project after meeting Joe Christ, who became fascinated with the cannon and spent hours making carriage parts on an antique lathe. The two researched cannon blueprints on the Internet together before Christ’s death last year.

    “Every time that I work on it, I think of him,” Kirsch said.

    He said he planned to have the cannon tested at Camp Atterbury after final repairs to the barrel and carriage are complete.

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