Members of the Brandywine Battlefield Park Associates were thrilled several years ago when they were finally able to get a cannon for display at the park in Chadds Ford.Former BBPA President Rich Bowers at the time noted the irony that there was no artillery piece on the site dedicated to the largest land battle of the American War of Independence, while Valley Forge, where no shots were ever fired, had a plethora of artillery pieces.
But what the associates failed to realize at the time was that the wooden wheels supporting the cannon and wagon needed to be on a concrete platform not directly on the ground. It had been on display in a flat grassy area across the driveway from the museum center and gift shop.
Over time, moisture seeped into the wheels and deteriorated the wood. It became a potential safety hazard so the park put the cannon away before further deterioration could take place and before anyone was injured.
George Thorpe, the supervisors' chairman in Chadds Ford Township and the current president of the BBPA, said they eventually put down a concrete platform, but it was too late.
Now the associates have a goal of raising $2,000 to get the wheels replaced.
Rex Hughes, a member of the associates, said the wheels were rotted and falling to pieces.
He said they received estimates from a wheelwright in New Holland and hopes that the work can be done by spring.
The wheels need to support approximately 1,200 pounds that include the galloper wagon and the Verbruggen bronze barrel artillery piece.
The group chose its patriot's Day event at the park to launch the fund-raising effort. Thorpe said about $250 was raised Saturday.
Anyone wanting to contribute should make out a check payable to the Brandywine Battlefield Park Associates and send it to Brandywine Battlefield Park Associates, PO Box 202, Chadds Ford, PA 19317.