Old Guard Articles

For many years, a Civil War cannon was mounted in front of the schoolhouse in New Glarus. At first the cannon was on the east side of the building, which had been built in 1896 with an addition in 1915. When a high school wing was added in 1939, the cannon stood guard at the main entrance on the north side of the building.

The school newspaper took its name from that cannon and is still known as the "Old Guard," with a motto of "As the Cannon Roars the Press Will Roll."

The cannon was actually one of two surplus weapons that were obtained long after the Civil War by New Glarus area veterans. It was mounted and filled with cement in the early 1900s after it's mate exploded while being fired during a 4th of July celebration.

The weapon, known as a 20 pound Parrott Rifle, was once a ship's cannon aboard the USS Katahdin, which took part in the Union blockade of Confederate ports.

In the early 1990s, the cannon was restored to working status by a Chicago-area civil war re-enactment group - Battery G of the 2nd Illinois Light Artillery. Meanwhile the schoolhouse that served the community for so many years was turned into an apartment building.

When not being used by Battery G for encampments, the gun is housed in the Hall of History at the Swiss Historical Village, giving quiet testimony to the service of the roughly 100 Civil War veterans from the Swiss colony.

In July of 1995, the roar of the cannon was heard here again during a Civil War encampment that was held as part of New Glarus' 150th anniversary celebration.

--Based on Swiss Historical Village archives and displays

 

Take a look back to the Old Guard's written in the early 1920s!