BUCKFIELD — The cannon at the Zadoc Long Free Library will receive a new crib and location on the grounds, thanks to students at Oxford Hills Technical School in Paris.

At the April 9 selectmen meeting, Town Manager Cindy Dunn presented a proposal that is part of the library’s front entrance project at 5 Turner St.

“There’s a cannon that sits on the library lawn, kind of in back of the veterans’ honor roll,” she said. “We want to move that to give better space for the walkway. We want to move it from where it is now to the other side where that huge shrub is.” 

The shrub is slated to be removed from the front of the building to open up the area. She said the base of the cannon is made of concrete.

“We were concerned that it had the potential of crumbling and breaking (if we lifted it),” Dunn said. “It would probably take a day to move it.”

Library Committee member Bill Glass suggested contacting the Oxford Hills Technical School to see if students would design and build a new crib to house the historic cannon.

“They are very willing,” Dunn said, and materials would cost $200. “Of course, $200 would be cheaper than a contractor’s day of pay.”

She told selectmen she wanted their thoughts on the project.

“Sounds good to me,” Selectman Warren Wright said.

Board of Selectmen Chairwoman Cheryl Coffman asked if Dunn knew when the cannon was placed on the lawn.

Dunn said she would find out.

The cannon is believed to date back to the 1800s.

“I have heard a couple of stories as to how we acquired it,” Dunn said. “As I understand, it was on the train, fell off the train, got buried, got rediscovered.”

According to the Lewiston Sun Journal archives from 1979, the cannon stood on the side of the road in front of the library until the road was widened to accommodate the new Village Bridge construction in late 1978. The cannon was moved to the upper lawn by the building at that time.

Coffman said the new crib is made of hemlock and she wondered how long it would last. Dunn said it would be treated with linseed oil every year.

Selectman Maida DeMers-Dobson requested the plans for the crib be stored in case it had to be rebuilt.

“Hemlock is one of those things (that) lasts forever, then it’s totally gone with a whole lot of splinters,” she said.

Resident Vivian Wadas worried about potential vandalism. Dunn said the crib has wheels on it and her first thought was someone could just wheel it away. A steel band will secure the cannon to the ground.

Selectmen approved the cannon crib project 3-0.

Other project parameters include work on the front steps, creating another walkway and three additional parking spaces and erecting a sign on the front of the library.

In other library news, Dunn asked selectmen whether committee members had to come before the board for every project they want to do.

“The Library Committee and its current members are very active, very enthusiastic, and to date have come up with some really good ideas to implement to promote the library, to make it a better place for the community,” Dunn said. The library also serves Hartford and Sumner residents.

The ideas range from a bookmark to publicize the monthly book club to programming at the library. She said these ideas were discussed with the librarian, assistant librarian and herself and would have to be approved by the committee.

Wright said as long as these projects stay within budget, committee members shouldn’t have to come before selectmen.

“It’s hard enough to get committee members. They do not get paid,” he said. “I feel you should give them free rein to keep interest up.”

Selectmen approved the committee’s advisory and authority limits 3-0.

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