Ashburnham Historical Society, Inc.

Building on the foundation of our past

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Civil War Cannon

The Cannon in front of the Museum was designed by then Captain John Dahlgren. The barrel is made of Navy bronze. Dahlgren, during the Civil War, was head of the Naval Ordnance Department and his fresh cannon design changed the manufacture of guns for the Navy.

John Dahlgren became a Rear Admiral in the United States Navy and was in charge of the famous siege of Fort Sumter. His son also served the Union and was lost in an attempt to assassinate then Confederate President Jefferson Davis thereby ending the Civil War. He and his men did not succeed and lost their lives in the attempt. 

The Bronze 12 Pound Gun was called the 12b Boat Gun. It was designed with different carriages, one was what is called a sea bed type. The barrel sits in a wooden bed or flat carriage that can be swiveled to fire from multiple positions on the ship but is otherwise not mobile. The second carriage is what is called a field carriage which is the more well-known design with a steel frame and large wooden wheels. The third design was made with thin metal wheels which could be affixed to the gun and used onshore quickly and effectively. The wheels that are currently in need of replacement would have been used as a field carriage configuration. This type would have been landed on shore and fired from a gun battery alongside other cannons.

Our 12 Pound Boat Gun is classified as a Light Howitzer. The wheels currently in use have rotted to the point of being non-repairable. The National Park Service has been rebuilding their cannon wheels using metal instead of wood for many years now and we feel that this is the way to go.

We are hoping to raise funds to offset the cost of fashioning new steel wheels that will last ten times longer than wooden wheels - hopefully, long into the next century. We estimate that this project will cost about $2,000.


The 1929 Ashburnham Fire Pumper

Our 1929 Chevrolet Fire Truck was owned by town Legend, Malcolm Stewart. Mr. Stewart was a longtime resident of the town and loved old vehicles. 

The pump truck was one of Ashburnham's earliest fire trucks. It is in relatively good shape overall, but is in need of modernization and has been sitting for 20 plus years. All of these upgrades are possible and the parts can readily be purchased. 

The items needed to bring the truck back into serviceable shape are a rework of the brake system and conversion to disc brakes. A rebuild or replacement of the carburetor, a rewiring of the dashboard and replacement of several gauges, repair of the shifter, new clutch and throw-out bearing, and replacement of one of the wooden floorboards.

The Historical Society can see the engine participating in parades and representing the Museum and town for years to come with this modernization and refreshment. These things are all doable and some are more expensive than others.

This beautiful example of an early piece of fire apparatus is a valuable addition to our collection and museum.

The total cost for this worthwhile endeavor is approximately $10,000.


Fund Raising Pledge

Please use the link below to print our pledge form.  The form is in 2 parts.  The top part is returned with your donation, the bottom part is retained as a receipt for your tax purposes.  We greatly appreciate any help with attaining our goal of repairing the Meeting House.

Thank You for you continued support.

Plaque Fundraiser

We are also offering property owners a house plaque for their home or business. This plaque is for ALL homes and businesses, whether historic or not.  Proceeds will go towards the continued upkeep and maintenance of the Historical Society.