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Detroit Police Divers Discover 200-Year-Old Cannon

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Detroit Riverfront

Photo Credit: Jeff Haynes/AFP/Getty Images

DETROIT (AP) – City police divers have found a cannon in the Detroit River that could be more than two centuries old, and they plan to raise it from the water Wednesday.

Dive team members the dive team discovered the cannon about 200 feet from Cobo Center in downtown Detroit during a training session in July, the Detroit Police Department said in a statement. It’s the fifth cannon found in the area in three decades.

The U.S. Coast Guard will assist in the recovery efforts.

The Detroit Historical Society hopes to restore and preserve the cannon, which is more than 6 feet long and likely weighs about 1,200 pounds.
Three other cannons were recovered in the 1980s and a fourth was recovered by the department’s dive team in 1994. Those are believed to be British and French. Detroit Historical Society Curator Joel Stone said the latest find will be studied to try to determine its age and where it came from.

“This is all kind of a detective thing,” Stone told the Detroit Free Press. “You get one piece of the puzzle, and then you get another piece of the puzzle.”

The cannon could be one of several believed to have fallen into the river in 1796 when they were being transported by the British, Detroit police said. Cannons that have been found in the area, however, also may have gone down anytime up to the War of 1812, Stone said.

Sgt. Dean Rademaker, who took part in the dive when the last cannon was found in 1994, spotted what turned out to be the latest one in July. Department divers previously had been to that area of the river hundreds of times without finding it, Rademaker said.

“I thought to myself, `You gotta be kidding me,”‘ he said of the discovery.

Divers more typically find cars and guns. In 2009 during a training session, they turned up a 6-foot, 300-pound bronze statue that had been missing for more than eight years from the Grosse Pointe War Memorial. The statue was returned to its suburban Detroit home.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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