Students recognized for cannon
Restoring a part of Clintonville’s legacy
By Bert Lehman
Students from the vocational technology class at Clintonville High School received community service awards for their work in restoring a historic cannon.
The students were recognized at the Feb. 8 Clintonville Common Council meeting.
At the council meeting, Mayor Rich Beggs said the U.S. Department of Defense first donated cannon to Clintonville in 1920.
But the city’s current canon is not the original World War I artillery that the DoD donated, Beggs said.
“In World War II, the gun that they had presented was taken back by the DoD, and it became scrap iron,” Beggs said. “So, this is a replacement after World War II. We think that it is a Japanese manufacture of a German design, done after World War II.”
He added, “It’s a really neat gun to have here, to remind us of the valor of those who served in World War I, and I really appreciate what you did.”
The cannon was originally placed at the old library on Main Street. It was later moved to Olen Park, and then the Riverwalk area by the dam. It will be placed in the same location by the dam when repairs are completed.
The Department of Defense still owns the cannon.
City Administrator Caz Muske told the Clintonville Tribune-Gazette the wooden spokes on the wheels had become deteriorated and needed to be replaced.
She said the project presented an opportunity to partner with the school on the repairs.
“We knew there were some talented kids and we have been blown away by Bertwin Lord’s instruction. His students are producing some works of art outside of this small restoration project,” Muske said.
Bertwin Lord, technical education teacher and CTE coordinator, saidhe is always looking for ways to collaborate with the community.
“Clintonville High School is at the center of the community and everyone has to come through here for schooling and we want to be part of our community well past graduation,” Lord said. “Finding projects to work in the community help us keep contact with those who are no longer in school or may not have children in school. We are also able to have our students become aware of their community and how they can be involved in their community.”
Lord confirmed that the wood spokes on the wheels needed to be replaced. Some brackets and spines on the wheels also needed to be rebuilt.
“The students made all of the repairs, shaped the wood into the spokes, and welded up the brackets,” Lord said.
Students Coleton Gee, Hunter Sirna, Gary Moore, Doug Masiarchin, and Zach Spaulding were directly involved with working on the cannon.
Work on the repair project was done during their class time, with students putting in a total of 35 hours of labor.
“The students were able to see a project through from initiation, to project planning, ordering supplies, site preparation, fabrication, and completing the job orders, as well as the write-up for what was done,” Lord said. “Other students were able to learn about the history of the cannon and the U.S. Department of Defense program for donating old military pieces to various cities and organizations around the USA.”
Community, school project
Muske said the city paid for the materials that were needed for the repairs, which amounted to roughly $150. The city also donated $400 to the vocational technology class for the students’ work and use of school equipment. The cost for material and the donation were in the city’s 2022 budgeted expenses.
“Bertwin did an awesome job not only utilizing this project as a means for the students to use their technical skills, but he also incorporated a history lesson with the work,” Muske said. “He had the history class in their shop talking about the era and noted the materials the U.S. used for cannons versus other countries. It was such a well-rounded instruction led by Bertwin.”
Lord said he looks forward to similar community projects in the future.
“We welcome the public to approach the school for these types of projects,” Lord said. “We have built park benches, picnic tables, birdhouses, bug houses, donation stands, and other projects for the community when various organizations donate the materials to the school. This is a great way for our students to interact with the local community and give our students real world experiences.”