P R O F I L E
Douglas, City and Borough of Juneau
In 1880 gold was discovered in Juneau, Alaska, across the narrow Gastineau Channel, drawing in all kinds of people looking to strike it rich. In 1881 two towns sprouted up on Douglas Island: Treadwell and Douglas later to be connected by a railway. Douglas is now a community on Douglas Island in southeastern Alaska, directly across the Gastineau Channel from downtown Juneau. The town's population has dropped over the years but recently is up to about 3,000 people, or close to ten percent of the City and Borough of Juneau's population.
Recollections of the Russian Cannon:
The Russian cannon appears to have been displayed in a couple of locations over the years including in front of the Douglas Post Office. The cannon and accompanying bell were installed when the post office was built in the early 1960s. "Val Poor was the postmaster at the time."
"The cannon used to be in front of Douglas City Hall; I remember it as a kid. We'd put firecrackers in it on the Fourth of July," said Rich Poor, Val's son. "At one time the cannon was mounted on top of the bell. My mother thinks it may be an old English cannon that came from Fort Bishop, from a trading post and fort that was there in the 1800s."
The canon had apparently also once rested in front of the Governor's House and was off the Russian ship Neva, the first battleship in Alaskan waters. Another Russian canon from the same ship is preserved atop Castle Hill in Sitka, where it is called upon to perform on Alaska Day. The battleship Neva left Russia for the Alaska territory in August, 1812, and sank off Sitka on January 9, 1813, during a storm near Cape Edgecumbe. Thirty-nine seamen drowned. Twenty-eight others made it to shore alive, according to Orriene Denslow, curator of the Isabel Miller Museum and member of the Sitka Historical Society.
For additional details, see "The Wreck of the Neva" (available at Juneau libraries) or "Voyage around the World" by Lisiansky.
It appears that the cannon referred to above has now found its way into the Alaska State Museum at Juneau, see picture at the top of this page.
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Crimean Cannon Location, past or present