LEONARDTOWN, MARYLAND – Last May, the Historical Society took a significant step to preserve the region’s rich history by removing the Ark Cannon from its long-standing location outside the Old Jail in Leonardtown.

Standing tall for over sixty years, the cannon has an illustrious past that dates back to the early days of Maryland’s settlement. Following its removal, curators at the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory at Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum embarked on an intricate restoration process, made possible by a generous grant from Destination Southern Maryland.

The Ark Cannon holds immense historical value, and its restoration was undertaken with great care and attention to detail. Expert conservationists worked tirelessly to ensure the cannon’s original state was brought back to life. Additionally, a historically accurate carriage was meticulously constructed to present an authentic representation of its era.

The restoration efforts did not stop there. Recognizing the cannon’s significance, the Historical Society contacted several organizations to find a suitable location where the Ark Cannon could be displayed for residents and visitors alike. In the interim, the restored cannon will be showcased at the historic Tudor Hall, allowing the public to glimpse into Maryland’s early history.

Donated to the Historical Society in 1959 by the then Provincial of the Jesuit Order in Maryland, the Ark Cannon carries a remarkable tale from the past. It was one of the cannons that journeyed with the first settlers aboard the Ark in 1634, symbolizing their brave voyage and the adversities they confronted. Following its voyage, the cannon occurred at the Fort in St. Mary’s City, becoming an enduring symbol of the region’s history. Later, in the late 18th Century, the Ark Cannon was a boundary marker on Jesuit land in St. Inigoes, Maryland. Finally, it found its way to the Old Jail, where it stood proudly for decades.

The Ark Cannon is not merely an artifact; it represents a living connection to Maryland’s past, a testament to the resilience and determination of the early settlers who shaped the state’s history. As the Historical Society strives to secure a new permanent home for the cannon, preserving this invaluable piece of history remains at the forefront of their efforts.

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

As the Ark Cannon stands on display at Tudor Hall, anticipation fills the air about its future home. The Historical Society is committed to finding a location that will honor the cannon’s historical significance and make it accessible and engaging for the public.

With its restoration complete and its story ready to be shared, the Ark Cannon continues to serve as a living link to Maryland’s past, and it promises to captivate the imaginations of generations to come as it finds its new permanent home.

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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