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Archive for Sunday, December 28, 2003

Hutchinson to refurbish Civil War cannons

December 28, 2003

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— Marshall Steen wanted to give Hutchinson's two Confederate cannons a new home.

Instead, the Kentucky man will help put them back on display in their old home.

Two years ago, Steen was rebuffed in his bid to buy the cannons for $100,000. Now, he is expected to get the job of building and delivering two steel carriages to Hutchinson so the cannons can go on display at the city's Soldiers and Sailors Memorial.

The cannons have been in storage until the memorial is renovated and the bronze barrels can be displayed on new carriages.

Steen owns Steen Cannons, an Ashland, Ky., company that manufactures Civil War-era artillery. While the metal carriages won't be historically accurate, the company advertises that they "are designed to last a lifetime with little maintenance."

The wooden carriages that deteriorated were not original, city planner Michele Wilbur said.

Wilbur said Steen already had the specifications for the proposed carriages, and city officials knew of no other manufacturer of the type of cannon carriage sought.

The Hutchinson City Council recently gave its support for a Phase I memorial renovation that will cost about $45,000. That would use up nearly all the money raised for the overall project, and city staff hope that competitive bidding will trim the estimated cost for Phase I.

Phase I involves replacing the carriages and constructing new paving around the monument. Phase II, which could run about $10,000, would repair the granite statues of Abraham Lincoln and three soldiers and a sailor.

Construction is now expected to begin in the first half of 2004.

The memorial was dedicated on Flag Day in 1919 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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