One of the Frequently Asked Questions posed to the University Archives and University Museum blog is “Who moved / Where are the CANNONS?”
A fixture on the Bluff for nearly 60 years, two vintage United States Army Ordnance Department guns were brought to campus through the efforts of physics professor, Brother Godfrey Vassallo, C.S.C. One cannon was an 1,860 pound anti-aircraft gun from Watervievelt, NY and the other a 3,147 pound gun from Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. In 1939 the cannons were installed on the Bluff, pointed toward the city, overlooking the Swan Island Shipyards, flanking the new flagpole erected that same year by the Engineering club. Although the rifling was scored to prevent firing, enterprising UP students rendered the cannons operable within days of arrival. Equally foresighted University officials saw to it that the restored cannons were then permanently decommissioned, converted from war to peaceful purpose. Known as the “Kissin’ Cannons” after the site became a popular post-parietals after-hours cross-roads for dating couples. When plans for a new science building were realized, the cannons were relocated in 1998 to make way for Swindells Hall. Today the cannons reside one at Camp Withycombe in Clackamas and one at the American Legion Post 45 in LaPine, Oregon.
Fr. Barry Hagan, C.S.C., letter to Mr. Lowell Cordas, Chairman of the Arts Committee, February 16, 1984
The Beacon, February 24, 1939
The Beacon, April 28, 1939
The Beacon, January 23, 1986
Bob Wright e-mail, April 9, 2012