Looking back at Picatinny: Cannon Gate
February 18, 2009
PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. - An installation landmark since 1885 is missing from Picatinny. Installation officials have sent out the Cannon Gate, which commuters and visitors pass through nearly daily, for restoration.
Here is a photo of the gate from World War II, shortly before this section of Parker Road expanded to its present three lanes.
If you cannot see the iron work for a time, you will probably still see snow and definitely still see Picatinny's speed-limit signs.
The Cannon Gate has been a Picatinny landmark almost for 124 years.
Thomas Robinson, a mason for what was then the United States Powder Depot, did the stone work and set the guns in August 1884 for $2.75 per day. Then, Cornell Iron Works of New York City provided the iron gates in 1885 for the then-mighty sum of $475.
The four gate posts are 8-inch Columbian cannons made by the West Point Foundry in 1855. The cannon balls with flames that top them represent the United States Army Ordnance Department, the organization that had charge of the depot. Its seal is on both gates.
Picatinny widened the gate to handle increased traffic during World War II.
Then, the gate ceased to be the entrance to the arsenal when land purchases in 1941, which included the unincorporated village of Spicertown, moved the south boundary to Route 15 and the present Main Gate.