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Mystery cannon to be centerpiece at Spanish Fort City Hall

Published: May. 19, 2022 at 5:27 PM CDT
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SPANISH FORT, Ala. (WALA) - The motto of the Spanish Fort Police Department is, “Protecting the Fort.” In just a few weeks, it’ll have some help, at least figuratively. Five historic cannons will be places outside City Hall. While not that unusual for this area, given the history, there’s a great deal of mystery surrounding the centerpiece to the new display.

Work is already underway building the foundation for the eight-and-a-half-foot cannon. All city officials will say about its discovery is that it was found in 2017 “somewhere” in Spanish Fort.

“You don’t want people digging up everywhere, trying to find artifacts and those kind of things,” explained Spanish Fort mayor, Mike McMillan. “It was during an excavation of a business site and it was found.”

Spanish Fort and the surrounding area is steeped in Civil War history and it would be easy to assume the cannon was left over from the war. That’s not the case, though and this is where the mystery deepens. Experts from Alabama and the Florida Department of State, where the cannon was restored have no idea, other than it’s very old.

The 8.5' cannon recently returned to Spanish Ft. from the Florida Dept. of State where it went...
The 8.5' cannon recently returned to Spanish Ft. from the Florida Dept. of State where it went through a preservation process(Hal Scheurich)

“It’s not really known when it got here or how it got here but it goes against all theories about people or cannons being here to our prior knowledge,” McMillan said. “They’re thinking it may have come over from Pensacola during the De Luna expeditions over here but there’s no way to know just yet.”

It is believed the cannon predates the Revolutionary War, so it is a head-scratcher. The shroud of mystery sits well though, with some residents.

“Big question mark, so now I’m going to go home and read up as much as I can find out about Spanish Fort because I didn’t know anything. So now, yeah. That’s going to be intriguing,” said Spanish Fort resident, Wanda Piepho.

As a compliment to City Hall’s new addition, four donated, Civil War-era cannons will also be put on display. There’s no mystery behind them. They were in Jamaica before finding their way here for display.

The mystery cannon weighs in at more than 1,000 pounds. The display foundation should be finished in the next couple weeks and the city hopes to have the display up sometime in June 2022.

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