Saturday, January 21, 2012

Digging Up Our History

If you live in the Rochester area, you're probably well aware that the long-planned reconstruction of Main Street in downtown Rochester will kick off this spring. The roadway will be closed for several months while it is excavated to allow the replacement of aged infrastructure, after which a new roadbed and streetscape will be built. With all of the digging that will be going on, it is a near certainty that some interesting artifacts will be unearthed, and I'm looking forward to seeing what items from our history have been preserved under the roadway since it was first paved in 1916. This past week, I ran across a small news item from 108 years ago that reminds us that anything is possible when one starts digging.  On July 15, 1904, the Rochester Era had this to report:
The old cannon which disappeared years ago has been found. It was dug up by workmen engaged in digging a sewer in the rear of the F.H. Burr block, occupied by Wood & Co., where it had been buried deep in the ground.  The big gun disappeared the day after a memorable Fourth of July celebration of the night before, eight or nine years ago, when a "bunch" of kindred spirits had a gala night with a big wheelbarrow load of booze to celebrate with and the old cannon to awake the echoes.
Something worthy of study is bound to be rediscovered here, so stay tuned, and don't stay away from downtown Rochester because of the construction.  Rather, go downtown because of the construction - it will be a learning experience for all of us.

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