Two 5 1/2 ton cannons arrive on the back of a truck at Front Park, Thursday, July 3, 2014. The Civil War “Parrott rifles” are two of eight original cannons placed in Front Park as a memorial after the Civil War. Most of the cannons were sold for scrap at $9 per ton during World War II but two were discovered a few years ago and refurbished. The statue in background is of legendary 1812 naval commander Oliver Hazard Perry. (Derek Gee/Buffalo News)

Two restored cannons that date back to the Civil War were returned to Front Park Thursday for the first time since their removal in 1940.

The cast-iron cannons, 11½ feet long and 11,000 pounds each, are what remain of eight that once spread across the park’s terrace overlooking where Lake Erie flows into the Niagara River. Some were sold during the Depression and possibly World War II to be melted.

“We assumed all of these pieces of history were lost. Just a couple of years ago, two were found in storage lots, moldering in the weeds,” said Thomas Herrera-Misler, president of Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy.

Landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted considered the park to be the most beautiful of the ones he designed. It was also his first waterfront park.

“This park used to draw the largest number of any park when it was first dedicated,” he said. “We know the cannons were here during a great Civil War encampment in 1897. President McKinley came to be a part of that encampment.”


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