Reno man restores four cannons

Norm Pape took a stroll around Muskingum Park in late April. During his walk, he noticed the four cannons surrounding the Soldiers and Sailors Monument were in bad shape. The cannons had rust on the undersides from rain and snow dripping around and off that portion of each cannon.

As someone who has studied the Civil War for 63 years, he knew he had to something.

He decided to take it upon himself to breath new life into the cannons and improve their appearance.

Question: What did you use to work on the cannons?

Answer: I used the wire brush to start with on what I call the “scabs” on the underneaths of each cannon. I got a file going with a chisel and had it down to bare metal.

Q: Why did you take it upon yourself to tackle this project?

A: It hadn’t been done in years. It being the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, I thought it was appropriate to get them done.

Q: How long did it take you?

A: It was a day and a half of scraping. I put on two coats of paint on another day. I had three (of the four cannons) finished by Memorial Day. It was about a month to get it all done.

Q: What can you tell me about the cannons?

A: They are confederate, 20-pound Parrott cannons from the Tredegar Iron Works of Richmond, Va. They were never on a caisson nor have they ever been in the field.

Q: You are a member of the Sons of Union Veterans. What is your connection?

A: My great-great-uncle. He was part of Battery C, 1st West Virginia Light Artillery, know as the Pierpoint Battery, after the provisional governor of West Virginia, Francis H. Pierpont.

Q: What do you know about Marietta’s contribution to the Civil War?

A: What we contributed to the Civil War was huge. The Marietta Country Club and the Washington County Fairgrounds were actually staging areas for action in West Virginia. The goal was to keep the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad open to the east. About 181 students participated from Marietta College. Marietta College was more like West Point then.

Q: What is the purpose of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War?

A: When the Grand Army of the Republic was formed, one had to be a Civil War vet. When the last one died, there was no more GAR. The Sons of Union Veterans to carry on the mission … to remember the Civil War, what I consider the biggest, most defining thing in our history.

Phil Foreman conducted this interview.