Inmates at Danville Adult Detention Center have been working to restore the World War II 101 Howitzer located on Mount Vernon Avenue near West Main Street — a project director Frank Mardavich plans to have finished by Veteran’s Day.
Mardavich said the restoration project came about after some paperwork was found by Danville Public Works Director Rick Drazenovich. A person at the American Legion who is in charge of allowing communities to have weapons like the cannon realized no recent pictures had been submitted — a requirement that is supposed to be done yearly.
No one from the city had sent any recent pictures and no one from the American Legion had asked for them, Mardavich said. After taking a look at the cannon, he said something needed to be done to restore it.
Nick’s Towing donated time and resources to move the cannon to the Adult Detention Center work shop, and an inmate crew has worked to strip off several layers of paint. Mardavich said it looks like the cannon has been painted five different times — including a coat of camouflage paint.
The inmate crew working on the cannon is still trying to get all of the paint stripped and get the bare metal exposed, Mardavich said. At that point, they will put a rust inhibitor on the cannon before putting on fresh coats of paint and will hopefully get some new tires donated for the cannon.
Mardavich said the project is still open to anyone in the public who would like to contribute or be part of the actual restoration. No one has approached Mardavich yet, but he is hoping to have some participation from the community.
The restoration project is slated to be finished by Veteran’s Day, and Mardavich is hoping to have an unveiling ceremony to display the newly restored relic.
Roberts reports for the Danville Register & Bee.