ARCH CAPE - Two cannons were found over the Presidents Day weekend on the beach at Arch Cape, about 30 miles south of Cape Disappointment.
The first cannon was spotted by Mike Petrone of Tualatin, Ore., and his daughter, Miranda, while they were walking on the beach.
Petrone said he and his daughter first thought the cannon was an old stump.
"I go, 'Gee, that's a funny looking stump.' Miranda said, 'I don't think it's wood, Dad. It's rusting,"' Petrone said.
So the pair did a bit of digging and soon the rough form of a cannon took shape. Petrone called the Cannon Beach Historical Society. Before long, Mayor John Williams showed up to check out Petrone's discovery.
Petrone, 40, said he's thrilled he and his daughter found the lost cannon.
The second cannon was found by Sharisse Repp of Tualatin, whose family spent the weekend at the coast with the Petrones. She said that after the first discovery, they all went back to the beach Monday to look for more pieces of the first cannon.
She wandered into the water, admiring what looked like an ancient forest bed, when she stumbled upon another hunk of metal.
"I started screaming I found the second cannon," Repp said.
Gary McDaniel, a supervisor with the state parks department's Nehalem Bay management unit who was documenting the first find, was on hand to confirm she had, indeed, found another cannon.
According to Oregon Parks and Recreation Department official Chris Havel, the cannons weighed between 800 and 1,000 pounds apiece and were placed in tanks of saltwater upon arrival at the state park to keep them from any further decay.
Crews are documenting the original locations of the cannons and trying to determine whom they belong to. While Oregon's beaches are publicly owned, there are some properties that extend to the low-tide line. If the land is not privately owned, it has to be determined whether the cannons were on Oregon Department of State Lands or Oregon Parks and Recreation Department property.
"It is possible one cannon was on parks department property and the other was on department of lands property," said Havel. "In that case, they are both state-owned but by different departments."
Historians and archaeologists say the cannons may be the remaining two of the three that were aboard the survey schooner USS Shark. The first cannon was found in 1898 and is the namesake of Cannon Beach, about four or five miles north of Arch Cape.
David Pearson, curator at the Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria, said the USS Shark was launched from the Washington, D.C., naval yard. He said it will take a couple of days to determine whether the cannons are from the Shark. A very similar cannon was found in 1898.
"The potential that these two were with that one is quite high: Same location, same measurements, everything matches," Pearson said.
Joanne Hill, a longtime resident of Arch Cape, said the discovery has been the talk of the community.
"It's thrilling," she said. "The whole neighborhood and town are abuzz. It really is quite a wonderful discovery."