“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Glen Ellen in Sonoma County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)

Glen Ellen Cannon

Glen Ellen Cannon Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Andrew Ruppenstein, November 28, 2009
1. Glen Ellen Cannon Marker
Inscription.  In early 1905 through the efforts of General Wagner, this Civil War Era cannon was delivered to Glen Ellen where it was placed in the center of town. It has continuously been recognized as the town marker and as a symbol of community for the town.

Plaque dedicated March 18, 1995
By Sam Brannan Chapter #1004
E Clampus Vitus

Erected 1995 by Sam Brannan Chapter # 1004 of E Clampus Vitus.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: LandmarksWar, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the E Clampus Vitus series list. A significant historical date for this entry is March 18, 1871.
Location. 38° 21.758′ N, 122° 31.558′ W. Marker is in Glen Ellen, California, in Sonoma County. Marker is at the intersection of London Ranch Road and Arnold Drive, on the right when traveling west on London Ranch Road. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 13470 Arnold Drive, Glen Ellen CA 95442, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Charles J. Poppe Building (a few steps from this marker); Historical Tid-bits about Glen Ellen
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(about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Jack and Chairman London (approx. 0.8 miles away); The London and Greenlaw Gravesites (approx. 0.9 miles away); Jack London Historical State Park (approx. 0.9 miles away); Jack London Ranch (approx. one mile away); "The Main Building" (approx. 1.1 miles away); Horse Power and Manure (approx. 1.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Glen Ellen.
Also see . . .  The Valley of the Moon’s northernmost towns. The Sonoma Valley Sun's December 20, 2007 article on the towns in the northermost post of the Valley had this to say about the cannon, "...Proving that Glen Ellen has not lost all its spunk, in 1992 the populace was galvanized by the imminent threat of having the town cannon, gifted to Glen Ellen by a General Wagner in 1905, sold to an East Coast collector. Citizens chained themselves to the historic relic in protest. The Richardses, who had purchased the Jack London Lodge, Wolf House and Jack London Saloon, inherited the cannon that sat rusting in their parking lot. An agreement with the town was struck,
8-inch Siege Howitzer Model 1861 image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Andrew Ruppenstein, November 28, 2009
2. 8-inch Siege Howitzer Model 1861
Around the top part of the cannon muzzle is written "No 37. 2583 lbs. J.R.E.", and on the lower part "FORT PITT. PA. 1862." Translated, these marks indicate the howitzer was produced by Fort Pitt Foundry, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1862 and inspected by John Rufus Edie (initials J.R.E.). It's registry number is 37 and weighed 2,583 pounds when produced. These weapons were designed for use during siege operations to lob shells into the enemy works. But often were placed in defensive works during the Civil War.
and the cannon now sits proudly, affixed with an historic plaque." (Submitted on November 29, 2009.) 
Additional commentary.
1. Additional Information Regarding the Marker Dedication
Ky Pearson was Noble Grand Humbug when this plaque was dedicated. Plaque wording by Loren A. Wilson
    — Submitted April 16, 2012, by Loren Wilson of Sebastopol, California.

2. Historical Significance
Dedicated March 18, 1995
It is the rare American town or city that has no piece of historical hardware to distinguish it or to in a very real way symbolize the spirit and history of that town. Philadelphia has the Liberty Bell, Alexandria (Virginia) has the Washington Masonic Monument, the City of Napa has a monument to the invention of the modern loud speaker--and Glen Ellen, Valley of the Moon, Sonoma County. has its Cannon.

As happens with relics of war, The Glen Ellen Cannon was donated by a war veteran, thereby saving The Cannon from being melted down on its way to become something else, such as plowshares.

The Cannon, an 8" Howitzer of Civil War vintage, was manufactured in 1862 by the Fort Pitt Foundry of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This
Glen Ellen Cannon and Marker with the Jack London Saloon in the Background image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Andrew Ruppenstein, November 28, 2009
3. Glen Ellen Cannon and Marker with the Jack London Saloon in the Background
particular model was somewhat unique during the Civil War era in that there were not a great number manufactured. Its exact role in the Civil War is not recorded.

The Cannon came to Glen Ellen in 1905, a gift to the town from General Wagner, a Civil War veteran. The announcement in the April 15, 1905 edition of the Sonoma Index-Tribune puts it this way: "Through the efforts of General Wagner Glen Ellen now has a large government cannon, which is being mounted on a brick foundation at the flag pole."

The Cannon rested at what Glen Ellen residents began to feel was the nexus of town; in other words, the Cannon had become so much a part of the town that the town literally revolved around it. Unfortunately, the Cannon was over the years taken somewhat for granted. Empty cans were stuffed down its muzzle and the accumulation of rainwater inside the Cannon damaged it. The Cannon became a rallying point for Glen Ellen residents in 1992 when Tim and Linda Richards. who purchased the property on which the Cannon rested, assumed ownership of the Cannon and arranged to sell it to a collector in New Jersey for the sum of $6000, going so far as to accept the payment. Local residents didn't see it that way, contending that the Cannon belonged to the town and that it was unthinkable that anyone would assume they could just up and sell it. By researching the method by which the
Glen Ellen Street Scene - 1910 image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Postcard fron 1910 Glen Ellen
4. Glen Ellen Street Scene - 1910
This is a postcard from Glen Ellen, from 1910 after the cannon was placed. Clearly, it had a tall, tall flagpole with it at the original time of placement. I found this postcard on eBay and paid $25.00 for it -- am happy to share it with everyone, as these are such important memories, hopefully never to be lost (no matter the cost).
big gun came to town, supporters located the Index-Tribune news item and used it as evidence the Cannon was community property and could not be sold. Legal means were employed to keep the Cannon in Glen Ellen when the Board of Supervisors of the County of Sonoma on March 5, 1992 conveyed "The Glen Ellen Cannon" to the protection of the Board of Directors of the Glen Ellen Fire Protection District. To further authenticate the Cannon's place in Glen Ellen history, on the 18th of March 1995 the Redshirts of the Sam Brannan Chapter of the pioneer historical fraternity E Clampus Vitus affixed to the Cannon an official historic plaque.
Rich Benyo
    — Submitted April 18, 2012, by Loren Wilson of Sebastopol, California.
Glen Ellen Cannon image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Barry Swackhamer, March 29, 2017
5. Glen Ellen Cannon
✭ No. 37. 2583 lbs. J.R.E. ✭ ORT-PITT. PA 1862 ✭
Glen Ellen Cannon Monument image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Loren Wilson, August 20, 2007
6. Glen Ellen Cannon Monument
Credits. This page was last revised on April 7, 2017. It was originally submitted on November 29, 2009, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Lamorinda, California. This page has been viewed 1,764 times since then and 12 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on November 29, 2009, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Lamorinda, California.   4. submitted on January 12, 2010, by Helen Weber of Glen Ellen, California.   5. submitted on April 7, 2017, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.   6. submitted on April 16, 2012, by Loren Wilson of Sebastopol, California. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.

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Mar. 4, 2024