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Historic Cannons Found on Oregon Coast Beach

Historians and archaeologists say the cannons may be the remaining cannons of the three that were aboard the survey schooner USS Shark.
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CANNON BEACH, Ore. -A pair of cannons found on the Oregon Coast recently may have come from a ship that ran aground in 1846.

Historians and archaeologists say the cannons may be the remaining cannons of the three that were aboard the survey schooner USS Shark.

The first cannon was found in 1898 and is the namesake of Cannon Beach, about four or five miles north of Arch Cape, where the other cannons were found over the Presidents Day holiday.

The first of the two latest cannons was spotted by Mike Petrone of Tualatin, and his daughter, Miranda, while they were walking on the beach recently.

cannon video.jpg

Click on the player to watch the video clip.

The second was spotted the next day while a state park official was documenting the discovery of the first one.

Petrone said he and his daughter first thought the cannon was an old stump.
"I go, 'Gee, that's a funny looking stump.' Miranda said, 'I don't think it's wood, Dad. It's rusting," Petrone said.

So the pair did a bit of digging a soon the rough form of a cannon took shape. Petrone called the Cannon Beach Historical Society. Before long, the mayor showed up to check out Petrone's discovery.

Petrone, 40, said he's thrilled he and his daughter found the lost cannon.
"I'm ecstatic," he said. "I have been on that beach since I was a little tot. I haven't found anything bigger than a glass ball. To find this was pretty amazing. I was in awe.''

Gary McDaniel, a supervisor with the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department's Nehalem Bay management unit, said the cannons appear to be two of the three cannons that were mounted on the USS Shark.

McDaniel said the cannons are heavily encrusted, still have their wood mounts and are "in pretty good shape."

David Pearson, curator at the Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria, said the USS Shark was launched from the Washington, D.C., naval yard.

If they do turn out to be from the ship, "they would be very significant to the history of Oregon.'"

The two historic cannons will remain in tubs at Nehalem Bay State Park for several weeks, undisturbed and under cover from the sun's rays.

"They will be touched very little in the coming weeks," said Oregon State Parks spokesman Chris Havel. They are not in an area accessible to the public.

Under way are the details of the cannon restoration, which will be done by a private entity, like a museum, Havel said. Complete restoration is a multiyear effort, according to experts at the Conservation Research Laboratory of Texas A&M

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