By SCOTT JACKSON
Four Civil War-era cannons installed at Mount Wollaston Cemetery are being refinished in concert with a larger effort to spruce up the historical burial ground.
The cannons were removed from the cemetery but will be put back once refinished, Mayor Thomas Koch said in a recent interview.
“Those are being refinished,” he said. “They will be completely sandblasted, repainted, and I think they’re going to be taking care of the – I call them cribs, but I don’t know what the right term is. What they sit on, they’re examining those too, because those are made of wood, to see what kind of shape they’re in.”
The cannons, which weigh 3.5 tons each, were formerly housed aboard the USS Constitution. The 32-pounders – the weight of a single shot that could be fired from each – were made by the Cyrus Alger Co. of Boston. The firm, originally known as the South Boston Iron Company, provided heavy artillery to the U.S. government during the War of 1812 and the Civil War.
The cannons were donated to the city in 1897 by the Paul J. Revere Post #88 of the Grand Army of the Republic.
The work at Mount Wollaston Cemetery, a $3 million project being paid for with federal American Rescue Act Plan funds, got underway earlier this year. The project includes the installation of new gate at the Sea Street entrance to the cemetery as well as improvements in the veterans’ section, which will free up space for approximately four dozen new gravesites.
“I think people are going to be very pleased when it’s finished,” Koch said of the project at Mount Wollaston Cemetery.
“It’s really going to be a handsome entrance. By doing the work we’re doing, it’s also going to give us additional grave space for the veterans’ section. It will light each of the monuments and we will have each of the branch military flags there as part of it. The landscaping is going to be beautiful. The new gate that is being fashioned for that area I think is going to be very fitting and will be enjoyed.
“That Mount Wollaston Cemetery is like an outdoor art museum. You look at the incredible craftsmanship on a lot of those monuments, it’s amazing, and this entrance will be more fitting for that location and what it represents.”
Most of the work at Mount Wollaston Cemetery should be finished this fall, Koch said. The one exception is a new monument honoring veterans who have served in the Gulf War and in subsequent conflicts, the completion of which is “probably at least a year away,” the mayor stated.