Blount County graduates fight to save historic cannon

Blount County graduates fight to save historic cannon

Posted:
The cannon is currently located at Heritage High School in Maryville. The cannon is currently located at Heritage High School in Maryville.
"The wheels are totaling falling off of it," said Everett High School alumnus Judy Mincey. "The wheels are totaling falling off of it," said Everett High School alumnus Judy Mincey.

By JOSH AULT
6 News Reporter

MARYVILLE (WATE) - The fate of a historic cannon in Blount County has a group of people calling for action.

The cannon is currently located at Heritage High School in Maryville. Its origins date back to 1967 when students at Everett High School won the cannon in a contest.

Now that Everett High School is gone, its graduates are fighting to save the cannon.

The Everett High School cannon now sits beside the football field at Heritage High School and is falling apart.

"The wheels are totaling falling off of it," said Everett High School alumnus Judy Mincey. "The wood has rotted. It's rusty. The barrel is rusty."

Mincey, who graduated from EHS in 1968, says to appreciate the history of the cannon you have to go back to 1967.
    
"WNOX and Lays Meats Packing ran a local high school contest to win a cannon," said Mincey. "The high school that wrote the most notes that said Lays Meats sloppy joes would win this Spanish-American war cannon."

After a heated battle, the students at EHS won.

"We put the cannon on the football field," said Mincey, "Fired it off at football games with rolls of toilet paper."

The cannon stayed at EHS until 1977 when the school closed. That is when school officials moved the cannon to HHS.

A committee was formed this year to restore the cannon.

"I have contacted a gentleman with Carson Newman, who's with the ROTC up there, and he refurbishes cannons," said EHS alumnus Buster Goodman. "He said he would do all the work for the cost of the material and not charge anything for labor."

Goodman, who also graduated from EHS in 1968, says it will cost five to seven thousand dollars to get the cannon back to where it was.

This committee feels the cannon needs to be put in a better location. One of the locations they thought of is at the Blount County Courthouse.

The only problem now is that school officials will not respond to their offer to help. They sent a proposal to Blount Count Director of Schools Rob Britt in August and still have not heard back.

"I have no doubt in my mind if we can get the cannon we can raise the money to get it restored," said Mincey.

All of these Everett graduates who are part of the committee hope the cannon can be saved before one of the last pieces of the school is lost forever.

"We were proud of it," said EHS alumnus Diane Green-Renninger. "We want to keep it. It's something we want to bring back home."

"I think winning this cannon was a big thing for us," said EHS alumnus Betty Jo Gurbb-Waldo. "I think it should be preserved for our great-grand-children."

"It's part of Everett history," said EHS alumnus Judy Roberts-Sloan, "This is all we got, really this is all we got left of Everett."

In an email to 6 News from Britt he acknowledged receiving the request, but no decision has been made on it.

The cannon's history is a bit of a mystery, but the committee says they do know it was built in 1883 and was use in the Spanish-American War.

A Facebook page for the 1968 graduating class is being used to find more people to help get this cannon restored.

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