HUDSON – Many of us have admired the beautiful old cannon in Liberty Park. Built in Germany, the cannon saw use during World War I.
After the war, the cannon became surplus property, likely being stored at Fort Devens. And the idea of securing it for Hudson started to form. Congressman Philip J. Philbin led the effort. Philbin had the political influence needed to turn an idea into reality. Philbin lived in Bolton. His family’s farm consisted of over 300 acres on both sides of West Berlin Road.
From Main Street in Bolton, drive to the top of Wataquadock Hill and look to the left. That’s the old farm and if you do this at night you will see the lights in Boston to the east, thirty miles away.
G. Bonazzoli and Sons poured the concrete base in Liberty Park and provided a truck to bring the cannon to Hudson.
Many of us may remember Robert T. Dawes. He was the president of Thomas Taylor and Sons and a big booster of Hudson in many ways. When the cannon got to Hudson, Bob Dawes and Dante Bonazzoli worked on the cannon all night, decorating it to be a float in the next day’s parade. This all took place in the late 1920s. The parade was for either Memorial Day or Veterans Day but this seems to be lost to time.
Dante Bonazzoli drove the truck carrying the gaily decorated cannon, and Bob Dawes rode alongside him. Upon reaching Wood Square a ceremony was held. Then the cannon was rolled onto its base, where it remained for over 60 years.
In 2005 the town commissioned Peter Phaneuf of Southborough to restore the cannon. It was removed from its base, and when it returned it looked much as it did when new.
This writer would like to dedicate this column to his late father, Richard D. Bonazzoli. It’s how he learned the story of how the cannon came to Hudson, much the same way Richard’s father Dante had told it to him many years before.