By Patrick J. Owens, Picatinny historianFebruary 17, 2009
PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. - Those who daily travel Parker Road to or from work may sense something missing. The something is the Cannon Gate, an installation landmark since 1885.
Riggers with Robinson Iron Corporation employees uprooted the iron gating Jan. 29, and shipped them to Alexander City, Ala., where a team of specialists with Robinson Iron and Ice Forge will perform badly needed restoration work. The four 8-inch Columbiad cannons which serve as gateposts remain and will receive on-site restoration.
Among other places, the company's work is visible on restored subway kiosks and railing and at Grand Central Station in New York City.
Expert restoration work is important because the gate is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.
The gate arrived safely in Alabama, and the company has already begun sandblasting.
The gates were definitely due for a cleaning, said Austin Robinson of Robinson Iron Corporation.
In addition to the blasting work, Robinson pointed out that patchwork fixes have been done through the years with everything from epoxy to concrete. These repairs, too, need to be fixed.
Robinson said new casting have to be made of those patchwork areas, then reassembly will start.
The aim is to have the work done and the gate back at its Picatinny home in time for this year's Armed Forces Day celebration.
The gate has not actually closed since World War I, so the impact to Picatinny's installation security will be nil.