You know, Fort Collins didn’t just plop a cannon in the middle of the playground at City Park. It was the other way around. The playground was west of there, and migrated to the cannon.
In a way, it didn’t matter because kids in the 1950s climbed all over the cannon and considered it an extension of the playground, Norm says.
In another way, it mattered very much because over the years many residents thought it inappropriate to keep the artillery where the children play.
The story of how the cannon came to City Park, and how hawks and doves resolved their differences, is interesting. But it’s too long for me to tell now.
But that’s not the most interesting thing about the cannon to me anyway. I think the most interesting thing is the kids’ initials carved in the hard rubber wheels. Norm says he remembers kids carving those glyphs going back to when he was a kid in the 1940s.
I’m a life-long Fort Collins resident. I’ve always enjoyed that cannon and was relieved to see that it was still here when we returned after being away for a number of years. Honestly, I was afraid it would have been scrapped a long time ago. My only worry now is that it is clearly deteriorating – the wheels especially are in rough shape. I like the continuity of having it where it’s always been, but wonder how long it can go on being out there, unless some work is done. The brass will be fine, but the iron and steel parts are suffering as well.
My brother and I played on that as kids, and our kids have played on it. Despite many other changes to the playground at City Park, it remains a constant.
1874 – John Sheldon purchased 500 acres of the McAdams farm to raise sheep, and turned 40 acres into an artificial lake. This later became City Park and Sheldon Lake.