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JEFF SCHORFHEIDE/Herald photo

A historic cannon that dates back to the Civil War era is scheduled for relocation today from its position in front of the Camp Randall Memorial Sports Center and into temporary storage.

The cannon is one of five original Civil War cannons lying in the Camp Randall Memorial Park.

Before housing 80,000 frenzied football fans, Camp Randall was utilized as a Civil War training ground. In 1911, a small portion of the 50-acre Camp Randall site was designated Camp Randall Memorial Park.

According to Daniel Einstein, campus environmental management coordinator, the replica wooden carriage that the cannon tube is mounted on has decayed, making it no longer safe for the public.

The cannon, which has been in its present location since 1964, was last worked on in 1987 by University of Wisconsin alumnus Percy Gyland.

Einstein said the cannon is going to be placed in temporary storage while a replica carriage is built. One of the remaining four cannons will assume the place of the removed cannon for the time being.

"The cannon is headed to a warehouse," Einstein said. "While in storage, a replica will be built, and the tube will be remounted on the replica, hopefully by the end of the summer."

According to Richard Zeitlin, Wisconsin Veterans Museum director, the plan is to replace the defective wooden carriage with a long-lasting aluminum carriage.

"Wooden carriages rot away after time," Zeitlin said. "The attempt is going to be to replace the wooden carriage with a more durable aluminum carriage that will not rot."

Aluminum carriages cost approximately $10,000, which, according to Einstein, makes them much cheaper than their wooden counterparts.

Einstein is optimistic that, with the help of a donation, the historic cannon will be back on UW property by the end of the fall semester.

"We hope by the end of the summer our donor will provide funds for a replica carriage," Einstein said.

This morning's cannon removal, slated for 9 a.m., should go smoothly with the help of the UW's machine shop, Einstein said.

"We're going to use a winch to lift the tube off of the carriage, put it on a pallet, and then lift the carriage on to a truck," Einstein said. "It should be pretty exciting for about 15 minutes."

According to Einstein, the cannon's origin is somewhat of a mystery.

"Four of the cannons in the park were brought over from Capitol Park," Einstein said. "As for this cannon, we're not exactly sure where it came from."

According to Einstein, a few of the cannons in the Camp Randall Memorial Park used to be shot off at UW homecoming ceremonies back in the 1930s and 1940s. All five of the cannons in the park are currently dormant and may never be used again.

"All of the cannons have been plugged," Einstein said. "They are all nonlethal."