Imagine the excitement local residents experienced in December 1909 when an authentic Civil War cannon arrived by rail in the Village of Harbor Springs. For over a century, the cannon in Zorn Park has stood sentinel along our historic waterfront yet it speaks little of its own history. The IX-inch Dahlgren cannon saw service in the Union Navy during the Civil War aboard the USS Powhatan. It weighs over 4½ tons and was capable of throwing a 90-pound shell two miles. Many decades after its Civil War service, the cannon arrived in Harbor Springs.
On December 7, 1909, the Petoskey Evening News reported that “the cannon and balls secured for the village through the efforts of Congressman Loud arrived here Wednesday and were deposited in the village hall yard for the present.” The cannon was moved shortly thereafter to the recently established Zorn Park. As a naval cannon, it stands in silent vigil facing the water and honors the veterans of our armed services.
As part of the Smith-Hoover American Legion Post’s annual Memorial Day services, the Harbor Springs Area Historical Society will rededicate the cannon with a bronze plaque giving voice to its history. The Historical Society is honored to shine a light on this unique piece of our community’s and our nation’s history and invites the public to attend. The Memorial Day service will be held Monday, May 28, 2018, immediately following the Memorial Day Parade down Main Street which begins at 10:00 am. The plaque was made possible with support from the Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation and the Smith-Hoover American Legion Post 281.