“It will always be in the north.” The Nevada Museum home to the John C. Fremont Cannon

Published: Nov. 29, 2022 at 6:03 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - There’s a place here in Northern Nevada where we can check out the real Fremont Cannon in person. The Nevada State Museum is now home to the cannon.

Most know the Fremont Cannon as the Nevada-UNLV matchup trophy to travel north and south each football season, but the history of the trophy is far from the football field.

Almost 200 years old, this artillery traveled alongside American explorer John C. Fremont right here in the Sierras.

Dr. Gene Hattori, Curative Anthropology at the Nevada State Museum, shared how the cannon came to be,

“This cannon was made in 1836 in Boston and again one of twelve that was made for the U.S. Army. It’s serial number three so it’s the third of the twelve cannons that were made for the army.”

Dr. Josh Bonde, Director of the museum, mentioned what it’s like to have such a historic artifact on display,

“The cannon is at ground level, kids can come, they can stare right down the barrel of it, it’s not loaded and they can see what an actual icon of western history, Nevada history, is just within arms reach.”

The Fremont Cannon was a type of experimental artillery piece. It was lost after Fremont left it in the Sierra Nevada snow.

Hundreds of years later, it has been featured in museums in Oregon and even in Las Vegas. It is now is officially back at the Nevada State Museum.

Hattori continued,

“This is almost undoubtedly the original Fremont Cannon. It fired projectiles. What you see here are two of the projectiles that have been fired. On the left is a canister round. This was filled with 148 led balls up to half an inch in diameter. The projectile on the right was the cannonball.”

Not only is this artifact an important part of exploration in our basin, but when it comes to the Fremont Cannon Trophy, the replica is the largest in college football history.

So whether it be a cannon a part of historic exploration or an icon of sports victory, The Nevada State Museum had this to say to fire back,

“For us the north-south rivalry we have both dr. Bonde and I are UNR graduates, it’s great to have it here in Nevada, representing the entire state, but it’s staying in the north for the foreseeable future,” Dr. Hattori said

" I remember when I was a walk-on to the football team and going into the field house and seeing the trophy cannon painted blue. It r eally looked beautiful, and I’m hoping it stays blue, but like Dr. Hattori said, the actual cannon will always be in the north,” Dr. Bonde said.

The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday.

For more information, click here.