Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Wistful Wednesday: The Fountain and a Cannon

A long long time ago there was a Railroad Celebration in Park Rapids.  The first train from Wadena came through that day.  It was a big deal. There was a parade and people came from miles around to celebrate.

Three young fellows; Willie Fox, Will Zimbrick and John Grandy were in charge of the cannon and inbetween volleys apparently they didn’t get it swabbed out clean enough…there must have been a spark left, enough to cause an explosion that day. Willie and Will lost their hands and parts of their arms in that explosion on August 1 1891.  After recovering from their injuries they either got jobs at the Courthouse or resumed jobs there, both served as County Treasurers and lived a normal life even with their handicaps.  I recall that one article said that they signed papers with a pen in their teeth.

Sometime in the town history a park with a fountain was built across from the High School.  That park had a huge fountain…and the cannon…make that cannons…it seems there were two took up residence there until they were sold for scrap during WWII.

Aunt Frances and the cannon in PR

Great Aunt Frances leaning against the outer edge of the fountain about 1920-1922.  The cannons are in the background.  I was excited to see them and the fountain as there are only a few photos that exist.

Fountain in PR

Friends of Aunt Frances inside the fountain.

In this photo you can see the railroad cars in the background.   The fountain was on the same block as the old Roller Skating/ Ford Garage… now Hugos…formerly J and B Foods.

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  1. ...a great bit of history.

  2. Those poor young men! So nice to know they were able to work in spite of their injuries. Good story and some really great pictures. :-)

  3. Wow! They were lucky to have survived! You really do find the interesting historical facts, Lady!! :)

  4. I love when you share some history with us!!

  5. It's sad but safety was not an issue at that time.

  6. Wow, that's quite a story. It must have been a horrible experience for the young men and the spectators at what was going to be a very festive event.

  7. I like the photo of your Great Aunt Frances leaning on the fountain. I'm thinking there was no water in that fountain, seeing as her friends were in it?

    1. It was wintertime so no water would have been in the fountain...too cold here in Minnesota!

  8. Who would have thought, when they snapped those photos, that they'd remain some of the few left with those details in the background?! You never know when those background details turn out to be part of history...

  9. Well I guess there is no water in the fountain. Interesting history of canons. Someone in the neighborhood owns a canon and they shoot that little thing off at football games.

  10. Wow! Exciting history in your town and pictures from "back in the day" are precious and rare. Now, we have pictures of things we don't even want to see!


Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your comments! If you have a question I will try to answer it here. Connie