Clark Park’s WWI cannon is found

EVERETT — Ask an Everett old-timer about Clark Park and he’ll tell you about the cannon.

For generations of children, it was the centerpiece of imaginary battles, something to climb on before modern, brightly plasticized play equipment.

About a decade ago, the cannon disappeared from the north Everett park at 2400 Lombard Ave.

The cannon — and what became of it — became a topic of discussion recently after the city asked residents to suggest ways to improve Clark Park.

It was never quite clear where the cannon came from or what happened to it, said historian David Dilgard.

The cannon was in Clark Park as early as the 1920s. Dilgard found a photo of parks workers from that era taken at Clark Park, and he can spy the wheel of the cannon in the image.

“It was probably one of the park’s greatest recreational items,” he said. “You could sit on it, pretend you were aiming it at the bad guys.”

It turns out the city still has the cannon.

Around the time the parks department made some upgrades to Clark Park in 2002, the cannon was moved into an open-air maintenance area not accessible to the public at American Legion Park.

It’s not clear why that happened, but the cannon at its old spot was the constant target of vandalism. The cannon, with its rusty bits, probably also posed a safety hazard, said Lori Cummings, assistant director for parks and recreation.

It’s sat outside ever since.

Friday, Dilgard and local history buffs and brothers Jack and Larry O’Donnell visited the cannon they remember from childhood.

“It looks a lot worse,” Jack O’Donnell said.

The metal barrel has oxidized and the wooden spokes on the wheels are rotten. A clump of wasps has taken up residence in the barrel.

“They couldn’t put a tarp over it because they would have had to get a concealed weapons permit,” Dilgard quipped.

On the back of the weapon, Dilgard spied something stamped in the metal: “Spandau 1904″ and “N. 1092.”

Spandau is a district of Berlin where heavy artillery was produced, he said. It’s likely a horse-drawn howitzer produced in 1904 and used later by the German military during World War I.

Ralph Lovett, a Georgia collector of artillery, said it’s a World War I era “trophy piece” given to Everett after the war. He reviewed photos of the cannon and said he believes it’s a German 15-centimeter heavy field howitzer, model 1893. A photo of a similar cannon is listed on his website

“Pieces like this often made it to city halls, courthouses, VFW and American Legion halls, especially if local citizens were well-established politically,” he said.

The city hasn’t figured out what to do with the cannon, Cummings said.

“We need to look at its current condition,” she said. “At this point there are no plans to do restoration.”

Reporter Debra Smith: 425-339-3197 or

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