Forest Park Cannon Officially Recognized After 110 Years


New marker ensures that cannon's history won't be forgotten -- again.
  • New marker ensures that cannon's history won't be forgotten -- again.
Congratulations Fred Ruhrwien!

For years now Ruhrwien, an 81-year-old volunteer tour guide at Forest Park, has toiled to give an old Spanish cannon in the park the recognition he believes it deserves.

Riverfront Times
has chronicled Rurhwien's quixotic quest a couple times as he searched to uncover the history of the cannon that no one -- from park staff to city historians -- seemed to know anything about.

Finally, last fall, a new archival database at the Missouri Historical Society popped up a few articles about how the cannon arrived in St. Louis in 1900 as a gift from the War Department.

The cannon sat in storage in Forest Park's horse stables for a year before a Post-Dispatch op/ed prompted park officials to publicly display the cannon. The massive gun -- forged in 1783 and presumably captured during the Spanish-American War -- was placed east of the History Museum with no placard to tell its story. Over the decades its history forgotten.

Last September, Ruhrwein petitioned the mayor's office and the park's department to place a sign near the cannon. And, finally, that day has come. The new granite marker states:


Actually, per the old newspaper articles, the cannon was actually donated to the city in 1900 before being publicly displayed a year later.

But, hey, like horseshoes, hand-grenades -- and cannon shot -- it's close enough.

Related Content:

Mystery of Forest Park Cannon Solved; Spanish Gun Arrived in St. Louis in 1900

Cannon Fodder: The mystery of the Spanish gun in Forest Park

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.