One of the most enduring and celebrated sagas in Wesleyan’s history is the Douglas Cannon. In the late 1860s, a yearly contest, the “Cannon Scrap,” began between the freshmen, whose mission it was to fire the cannon on February 22, and the sophomores, who were charged with foiling the effort.
Today, its empty gun mount sits near the flagpole, between South College and Memorial Chapel. In 1957, the tradition of stealing the cannon began in earnest. The cannon has traveled widely since that time: It has been hidden in dormitories, presented to the Russian Mission at the United Nations as a “symbol of peace, brotherhood, and friendship,” appeared unexpectedly in the offices of the managing editor of Life magazine, presented to President Richard M. Nixon as a protest against the war in Vietnam (Nixon declined), and baked into Wesleyan’s sesquicentennial birthday cake, among many other escapades. After resting again briefly on its pedestal in 1995, the cannon disappeared, and then briefly reappeared in December of 1997. Its present location is unknown.
For a more detailed history of the Douglas Cannon, click here.