Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Reading in Berks County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Civil War Cannon

Manufactured in Reading

 
 
Civil War Cannon Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, November 20, 2020
1. Civil War Cannon Marker
Inscription.  
The 8" Rodman Gun and 40 Columbiad shells have been a fixture at the intersection of 5th Street and Centre Avenue next to the Lebanon Valley Railroad since 1922 when they were brought to Reading to recognize city residents for their support to the Union Army during the Civil War.

Typically found aboard a union battleship or as part of a coastal fortification, this cannon would have been manned by upwards of eight sailors and had a range of 3,873 yards.

The gun had been housed at Fort Jay, on Governor's Island in New York until U.S. Congressman Fred Gernerd made arrangements to have it transported to Reading for display; initially during the 100th anniversary of the birth of General/President Ulysses S. Grant.

The cannon was accepted by then Mayor John K. Stauffer. The approximately 8,500 pound cannon was transported to Reading at a cost of $50, which today would be the approximate equivalent of $685.

This visit wasn't the cannon's first time in Reading, PA though. In 1865 the gun had been cast in the Seyfert McManus-Scott Foundry located at 8th and Buttonwood Streets which would later become a
Civil War Cannon Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, November 20, 2020
2. Civil War Cannon Marker
part of the world renowned Reading Iron Company.

The muzzle of the cannon points towards the south, which is emblematic of the victory of the Union forces over the Confederate Army during the Rebellion.

if you continue just a few hundred yards north on Centre Avenue to Oley Street, you will find another war relic. The cannon had originally been placed to complement Civil War hero General David McM. Gregg who passed away in Reading in 1916.

Interesting Fact
You may notice that the shells are larger than the muzzle of the cannon. This was the subject of concern by a who's who of Reading residents at the time. NAmes like Quier, Heizmann, Muhlenberg, Bushong, Rick, Gaul, Kendig, Barbey, and pendleton wrote letters to the City asking that the cannon be removed. The complainants decried that it was an "eyesore" and "not restful to the eye" and mocked its military accuracy based upon the mismatched 8" muzzle and 10" cannon balls. Chapters of the Patriotic Order, Sons of America, the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars rallied for the retention of the relic and were later successful.
 
Erected by Berks County Monument Preservation Fund.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: War, US CivilWaterways & Vessels.
 
Location.
Dedication plaque on the grounds of the cannon image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, November 20, 2020
3. Dedication plaque on the grounds of the cannon
40° 20.606′ N, 75° 55.676′ W. Marker is in Reading, Pennsylvania, in Berks County. Marker is at the intersection of Centre Avenue (Pennsylvania Route 61) and Green Terrace, on the right when traveling north on Centre Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 500 N 5th St, Reading PA 19601, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Skew Bridge (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Wallace Stevens (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named Wallace Stevens (approx. 0.2 miles away); Major General David McMurtie Gregg (approx. 0.2 miles away); General David McMurtie Gregg (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named General David McMurtie Gregg (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named General David McMurtie Gregg (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named General David McMurtie Gregg (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Reading.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 22, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 22, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 30 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on November 22, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.
Paid Advertisement
Mar. 4, 2021