Visited 20 Sep 2009 - It was such a great day yesterday that we decided to go to Fort Stevens to see how the Battery Pratt 6″ gun replica was coming along. The first thing I noticed was that the event tent was up in front of the Battery and it came to me that I had probably missed the annual Friends of Old Fort Stevens (FOOFS) Picnic on Saturday, sure enough I had. Second Saturday in September, got to remember that…
Jack Buckmeir told me that he has had the gun apart and back together a half a dozen times since last fall and that his next move is to mount the retraction gears and cable drums. The gun looks great right now and it’s only on close inspection that you can see how much work remains to be done. Jack listed the things that needed to be finished, a retraction motor, the recoil mechanism, the traversing mechanism and the counterweight mechanism, all hard stuff. All of this involves taking the gun apart and putting it back together many more times in the coming months and the good weather will be gone soon.
I’ve included a picture of the original gun and carriage so you can see how close Jack’s replica is (click on the thumbnails to see the full picture), it should look just like the original. If you get down and inside the carriage you can see where the work will be done.
It really works well and I took a short video to show it off a bit. It takes a quarter to operate the gun and that keeps the number of cycles down and produces a bit of income for the improvements. Jack says that this is first version and that he plans to beef up the display and the mechanism. The display will expand to show a full 1/6th scale gun crew and have Plexiglas around the model. A faster motor to speed up the display a bit is also in the plan.
Fort Stevens is always a great place to visit, always something going on and they do great guided tours, don’t miss the Battery Mishler guided tour (guided only) and take a really heavy duty flashlight with you (no wimpy led models). See my earlier post on Battery Mishler.
While you are in the area don’t miss the Astoria Column, the observation platform has just reopened and the view of mouth of the Columbia is spectacular. The Astoria Column sits atop Coxcomb Hill at an altitude of 600 feet so you can see everything, a full 360 degree view. You do have to walk up a spiral staircase (164 steps) to get to the top but there are several landings where you can rest.
This post was written by JohnStanton on September 22, 2009