LEONARDTOWN, MD – The St. Mary’s County Historical Society made a significant move today as they removed the historic “Ark Cannon” from its longtime location outside Leonardtown’s Old Jail. Standing tall since 1960, the cannon holds immense historical significance for the state of Maryland. The restoration project for the cannon is now underway, thanks to a generous grant provided by Destination Southern Maryland and the Southern Maryland National Heritage Area. The restoration work will be carried out by the MAC Lab at Jefferson-Patterson Memorial Park in Calvert County.

Donated to the Historical Society in 1959 by the then Provincial of the Jesuit Order in Maryland, the Ark Cannon has a remarkable story to tell. It was one of the cannons that accompanied the first settlers to Maryland on the Ark in 1634, symbolizing their journey and the challenges they faced. After being removed from the Ark, the cannon found its place at the Fort in St. Mary’s City. In the late 18th Century, it served as a boundary marker on Jesuit land in St. Inigoes, Maryland. Eventually, it was extracted, cleaned, and carefully installed at the Old Jail.

Historical Society volunteer “Teeny” Guy helps as the Cannon is lifted from its pedestal.

Peter LaPorte, the Executive Director of the Historical Society, emphasized the importance of preserving the Ark Cannon for future generations: “The Ark Cannon is an important part of Maryland’s – and this County’s – history. We simply could not allow it to continue to slowly erode.” Recognizing the cannon’s historical and cultural significance, the restoration process became an essential endeavor for the society.

As the restoration work gets underway, the Historical Society is actively seeking a partnership with another organization within the county to create an enhanced display for the cannon. LaPorte stated, “Some people may see it as simply a heavy chunk of metal. Others see it as a reminder of people whose faith, work, and sacrifice ushered in a new era of freedom and liberty.” By finding a suitable location and partner, the society aims to ensure the cannon is displayed in a way that properly reflects its historical context and significance.

The MAC Lab at Jefferson-Patterson Memorial Park, known for its expertise in artifact conservation and restoration, is well-suited to undertake the intricate task of restoring the Ark Cannon. With the support of the grant provided by Destination Southern Maryland and the Southern Maryland National Heritage Area, the restoration process will adhere to the highest standards of preservation.

The removal of the Ark Cannon signifies a significant step towards safeguarding Maryland’s rich history. As the restoration progresses, experts will meticulously work to stabilize and repair the cannon, ensuring its authenticity and integrity are preserved. Once the restoration is complete, the Historical Society hopes to unveil the revitalized cannon to the public in its new partnership-driven display, further emphasizing its historical value.

The Ark Cannon serves as a tangible link to the early settlers of Maryland, encapsulating their resilience, determination, and contributions to the state’s foundation. As efforts to restore and preserve this iconic artifact continue, the Historical Society, in collaboration with the MAC Lab and its partner organization, remains committed to honoring the cannon’s historical significance and sharing it with future generations.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/EditorEditor-in-Chief

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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