Fundraiser will help restore Montgomery cemetery cannon
By Judy Pochel For The Beacon-News February 13, 2013 2:28PM
Spanish-American War era cannon on display at the Riverside Cemetery in Montgomery is in serous disrepair. Photo taken Wednesday, February 13, 2013. | Steven Buyansky~Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 15, 2013 1:01PM
MONTGOMERY — Herschel Luckinbill is taking a shot at restoring the military cannon at Riverside Cemetery here.
Many believed the cannon was a remnant of the Civil War, but Luckinbill, a U.S. Navy veteran, decided to find out exactly where it came from.
Luckinbill first checked out the cannon a few months ago.
“I almost got sick to my stomach for letting it decay,” he said.
After getting partial numbers off the cannon, he was able to trace it to the Spanish-American War, fought some 120 years ago over both the Philippines and Cuba.
Luckinbill said Watervliet Arsenal in New York built the cannon wagon in 1889. The Rock Island Arsenal built the carriage in 1887.
He said it’s not known how the cannon ended up in Montgomery.
“Everyone says it has always been there,” he said.
Seeing the cannon in a state of disrepair, Luckinbill launched a project simply called “Save the Cannon,” with a fundraising event scheduled this weekend.
Luckinbill said he already has received $4,160 for the restoration. The estimated price tag for the work is about $9,000 — and Luckinbill says he’d like the cannon restored by Memorial Day.
A fundraiser concert is slated for Saturday at the Montgomery VFW Post at 121 River St.
Nashville Recording Artist Ricky Lee and “That Violynist” Carrie Lyn Infusion will perform at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30 a person or $50 for couples. Several raffles will be held, including a chance to win a TV.
“We plan to have the cannon removed on Friday,” Luckinbill said this week.
He hopes to be able to view the entire set of numbers so he can trace the exact origin for the artifact.
Luckinbill is not one to waste time — he has already scheduled a dedication ceremony along with a family picnic in the cemetery for Memorial Day.
At the same time he is working on the cannon project, Luckinbill said he has also secured the traveling Vietnam Moving Wall to be on display at West Aurora High School for Veterans Day, Nov. 7 to 11.