Oxford Hills Tech students to build new cannon crib for Buckfield

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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.

BEFORE — What the cannon at the Zadoc Long Free Library in Buckfield currently is housed in.
BEFORE — What the cannon at the Zadoc Long Free Library in Buckfield currently is housed in.

At the Saturday, April 9 Buckfield selectmen’s meeting, Town Manager Cindy Dunn presented to the board 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 veterans’ honor roll. 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,” Dunn said.

The shrub is slated to be removed from the front of the building to open up the area. She added the base of the cannon is currently made out of cement.

“We were concerned that it had the potential of crumbling and breaking to lift it. It would probably take a day to move it,” Dunn said, adding this information came from the site review she had with potential contractors for the entire project.

Library Committee member Bill Glass suggested getting in touch with 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, adding it’s $200 for the materials for the project. “Of course, $200 would be cheaper than a contractor’s day of pay.”

She told selectmen she wanted their feelings on the project.

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

Selectmen Chair Cheryl Coffman asked if Dunn knew when the cannon was placed on the lawn. The town manager was unsure, but said she would find out.

AFTER — This is the proposed design of the new crib for the Zadoc Long Free Library's cannon, which will be made out of hemlock and moved to the front of the building.
AFTER — This is the proposed design of the new crib for the Zadoc Long Free Library’s cannon, which will be made out of hemlock and moved to the front of the building.

“I have heard a couple of stories as to how we acquired it,” Dunn said about the cannon that’s believed to date to the 1800s. “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 acommodate the new Village Bridge construction in late 1978. The cannon was moved to the upper lawn by the building at that time.

Coffman noted the new crib was made out of hemlock and wondered how long it would last. Dunn said it would be treated with linseed oil every year. Selectman Maida DeMers-Dobson then requested the plans for the crib be stored in case it needed to be rebuilt.

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

Resident Vivian Wadas worried about potential vandalism. Dunn noted the crib has wheels on it and her first thought was someone could just wheel it away. There will be a steel band that secures 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 if committee members needed to come before them for each and 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.

The ideas range from a book mark to publicize the monthly book club to programming at the library. She noted these ideas are discussed with the librarian, assistant librarian and herself and would need to pass by a majority vote from the committee.

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

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

Coffman said it’s fine for the committee to move forward with projects, as long as they’re within budget and don’t have an ongoing expense.

“I think it’s a good idea. That would help things flow much faster than having to wait for us,” she said.

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

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