DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - The Detroit Police Department says its dive team members found a cannon that could be more than two centuries old in the Detroit River near the city’s downtown.
The cannon was discovered about 200 feet from Cobo Center during a July training session. It’s the fifth cannon found in the area in three decades.
On Wednesday around noon, the department and the U.S. Coast Guard plan to raise the cannon from the river. The Coast Guard will hold the cannon, which is more than 6 feet long and likely weighs about 1,200 pounds, in a secured location until the Detroit Historical Museum can raise funds to restore and preserve it.
It was revealed that in 1796 when the British were leaving Fort Detroit, they were ferrying five cannons to a ship anchored in the Detroit River. The ferry capsized and every cannon fell into the river. In the 80’s three cannons were recovered and in 1994, the fourth cannon was recovered by the DPD’s dive team.
The department believes they have found the fifth and final cannon.
Detroit Historical Society Curator Joel Stone said the cannon will be studied in order to determine its age and where it came from.
“This is all kind of a detective thing,” Stone said. “You get one piece of the puzzle, and then you get another piece of the puzzle.”
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.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.