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Cannon on the Green 1926-1942


Image from Annie Emerson Papers, Vol 2

In 1920 it was decided to construct a war memorial to honor the almost 340 Longmeadow veterans who had served in our nation’s wars. The monument would include a large boulder with a bronze plaque inscribed with the veterans' names along with a flagpole. The site of this memorial was to be on the Longmeadow green. According to The Springfield Republican on February 17, 1922, “The bowlder (sic) which was quarried on Joseph Wesson’s estate in Palmer is on the way and will be placed on the Longmeadow green. Its weight is 12 tons”. The dedication and unveiling of the monument occurred on Memorial Day, May 30, 1922.


The guest of honor and principal speaker was Major-General Clarence Edwards, a descendant of Lieutenant Nathaniel Burt, a Longmeadow resident killed in the Battle of Lake George during the French and Indian Wars on September 8, 1755. General Edwards was commander of the 26th Infantry Division during WWI. It was referred to as the “Yankee Division” as it consisted of units from New England. Men of the newly created Albert T. Wood post of the American Legion led a procession through the cemetery to decorate the graves of the veterans buried there. Four Longmeadow residents who were veterans of the Civil War were present.





In 1919, captured German artillery was turned over to American forces to be distributed to cities around the United States as “gifts” of the government. In 1926, a 150 mm caliber artillery piece was secured by Colonel Charles Tenney, a Longmeadow resident who was head of the Springfield Gas Light Company for almost 50 years. Tenney offered the cannon to the town, thinking it would be a nice accompaniment to the memorial on the green. He suggested that if the town weren’t interested in taking it, he would put it in his own yard. The town did accept the gift, and the cannon was placed at the war memorial on the green.



Image from Longmeadow Sesquicentennial


The cannon, however, soon created a controversy in town. It was described as “another distinct detriment to the beauty of the landscape” and should be “placed in a less conspicuous place”. The cannon did remain in this location until WWII. In early 1942 it was decided that it would, “be returned to its native land slugged special delivery to Hitler in the form of American shells and guns”. The cannon was removed in July 1942 and sold as scrap metal with the proceeds to be donated to various service relief funds. Nothing of its presence remains at the memorial which was later expanded to include veterans of WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.



Springfield Republican, July 1942



-Contributed by Lenny Shaker, Longmeadow Historical Society


Sources:

Annie Emerson Papers, Vol 2, Richard Salter Storrs Library

Longmeadow Sesquicentennial Book

Springfield Republican: February 17, 1922, February 16, 1926, October 15, 1926, July 9, 1942








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