Canton in Stark County, Ohio — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Base of the Conning Tower of the US Battleship Maine
This large piece of steel was once a part of the proud USS Battleship Maine. The ship was commissioned in 1895 and was part of the “Great White Fleet.”
The Maine sailed into Havana Harbor on January 25, 1898. The ship had been sent there at the request of former Confederate General Fitzhugh Lee, who was the American Consul General in Havana at the time.
Tensions were high between America and Spain due to a renewed rebellion that began in 1895 against Spanish rule by the Cuban people. This rebellion jeopardized American economic interests in Cuba and reports of atrocities against the Cuban people by the Spanish inflamed American public opinion against Spain.
Commanded by Captain Charles D. Sigsbee, the Maine was at anchor on the night of February 15, 1898 when at 9:40 P.M. an explosion ripped the forward section of the ship apart. The blast sank the ship and took the lives of 252 men.
A court of inquiry looked into the explosion and decided that it was the result of a mine set off under the ship. The conclusion was not universally accepted and the court placed no blame as to who may have put the mine under the ship. However the publicís opinion that it had been the actions of the Spanish began pushing the country toward war. This opinion was being pushed across the country by the papers of William
War was finally declared on April 25, 1898 and by August of the same year it was all over. Combat lasted only 10 weeks.
In the Treaty of Paris after the war, the United States took control of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippine Islands. Cuba did not come under American control because an amendment to the Declaration of War forbade it. This amendment was added to the declaration by the anti-imperialists in Congress.
The annexation of these territories was not generally popular in the United States. The treaty was approved by the United States Senate only with the urging of William Jennings Bryan. Mr. Bryan was the probable Democratic candidate for president in 1900 at the time and an anti-imperialist. He wanted to end the state of war that still existed in Spain. He intended to relinquish the Philippines if elected. Even so, the treaty only passed by two votes. He lost the election to President McKinley and the United States retained the islands.
Cuba was nominally independent after the war and ceded territory for naval stations to the United States under a constitution imposed on it by the American government.
It was felt by some that the Philippines were important for Americaís interests in the opening China markets, and Puerto Rico and the naval bases in Cuba were important
The cause of the explosion was investigated after the war and again in later years. The true cause has never been able to be determined beyond a doubt. However, it is just as likely that a coal bunker fire caused the explosion that sank the ship. The ship was raised after the war and taken to sea to be sunk again, this time with honors. It was during this time that the piece you are looking at was salvaged.
This and the other Spanish-American War items in this park are here because both President William McKinley and his Secretary of State during the war, Mr. William R. Day, called Canton their home.
Location. 40° 48.655′ N, 81° 23.909′ W. Marker is in Canton, Ohio, in Stark County. Marker is at the intersection of Harrison Avenue NW and 13th Street NW, on the right when traveling south on Harrison Avenue NW. Touch for map. Marker is located in Westbrook Veterans Memorial Park. Marker is in this post office area: Canton OH 44702, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. French Cannon (within shouting distance of this marker); Spanish Mortar (within shouting distance of this marker); Building the McKinley National Memorial Symbolism of the McKinley National Memorial (approx. 0.4 miles away); William McKinley (approx. 0.4 miles away); a different marker also named William McKinley (approx. 0.4 miles away); Ohio War Memorial (approx. 0.4 miles away); The McKinley National Memorial (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Canton.
More about this marker. Photographs of the USS Maine, before and after the explosion, are at the top of the marker.
Categories. • War, Spanish-American •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 12, 2015, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 218 times since then and 20 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on September 12, 2015, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.