Wednesday, Sep 28, 2016
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REPLICAS HELP TELL WAR’S STORY

Oregon exhibit shows piece of local history

The-Cannons-that-Changed-America

This replica carronade cannon is on display at the Harbor View Historical Society exhibit ‘The Cannons that Changed America’ in Oregon.

MATT ZALESKI Enlarge

Two replica cannons reminiscent of those used to fight the Battle of Lake Erie are on display at an Oregon museum.

The Harbor View Historical Society Museum is displaying long gun and carronade cannons in an exhibit that corresponds with the 200th anniversary of a key American victory over the British during the War of 1812.

Put-in-Bay serves as a hub for numerous bicentennial events this weekend through the Sept. 10 battle anniversary.

Those seeking a quick glimpse into the past can stop by the free cannon exhibit from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays through the end of October.

Though replicas, the two cannons have a unique back story.

The Canadian-built, fiberglass pieces were used in the 2003 Russell Crowe movie Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World before going into storage and being pulled out for use in the HBO miniseries John Adams, said Bob Gillmor of Old Fort in Seneca County.

Mr. Gillmor, who runs a business making cannons, carts, wagons, and other pieces for film and television productions, worked on the HBO show.

After filming wrapped, he purchased several truck loads of cannons and has lent pieces to various sites, including the Navy Operational Support Center in Perrysburg Township.

At least one cannon previously displayed at the support center is now showcased at the historical society museum, where the exhibit helps illustrate weapons used in the Battle of Lake Erie.

“Walk up to them, and you would think they are the real guns,” Mr. Gillmor said.

Though they are made to match original patterns, there’s one significant difference. A replica cannon weighs about 250 pounds, far less than the roughly 3,000 pounds of some authentic artillery, Mr. Gillmor said.

The long gun on display is similar to those fired from British ships.

As the name suggests, its range is longer than the carronade.

The British long guns could hurl a cannonball about a mile, or about a half mile with accuracy, according to the U.S. National Park Service.

American ships mostly were armed with carronades, which had a shorter range but could pummel the opponent with more force, according to the historical society’s president, Samuel Bonifas.

The museum at 2083 Autokee St. in Oregon opened the exhibit in early August.

Contact Vanessa McCray at: vmccray@theblade.com or 419-724-6056, or on Twitter @vanmccray.

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