They didn’t look like much at first, but the cannons discovered in Arch Cap six years ago are in much better shape now.

“They look really good,” said Miranda Petrone. “I didn’t think they’d be this intact considering the condition we found them in.”

Petrone was only 12 years old when she and her father stumbled upon one of the cannons during Presidents Day weekend in 2008.

“I honestly didn’t really know what to expect,” she said on Wednesday during a visit to the Columbia River Maritime Museum with her family. “They’re a lot bigger than we remember.”

Miranda’s father, Mike Petrone, said the first people they told about the cannon were skeptical at first. They called the city of Cannon Beach and the Cannon Beach Historical Society.

“There was a long pause,” he said about the phone calls. “They did not believe us.”

“Nobody believed us,” said Miranda Petrone.

Petrone said people walked by them and took photos of it, but it didn’t spark much more interest. A concretion made up of sand and rock had formed around the cannon after it drifted down from the Columbia River bar in 1846. The cannons belonged to the USS Shark, a schooner that surveyed the river during Oregon’s nascent territory days

The cannons initially looked just like a log buried in the sand, Mike Petrone said, but they soon noticed that there was rust on an iron ring that was still sticking out from the concretion. They did some more digging and people finally believed that it was in fact a cannon.

The Petrone family and friends were visiting the coast from Tualatin during the holiday weekend. Family friend Sharisse Repp found the second cannon two days later.

Miranda Petrone said she’s alway liked the idea of finding buried treasure and the discovery in 2008 was exciting, but it hasn’t necessary sparked a desire to become a history major while she is in college.

On Saturday, the museum will officially open the exhibit to the public. At 2 p.m., a student from Texas A&M University who helped restore the cannons will give a presentation of his master’s thesis, which he did on the two cannons.

     

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