Greenfield Man’s Civil War era cannons will be silent this July 4th



As the pandemic subsides and returns to normal, the sounds of fireworks will fill the air again during the holidays of July 4th.

But the thunderous bangs of Civil War-era cannons in Greenfield won’t be part of the soundtrack.

Frank Markel said the cannons, which are in the front yard of his house, will be silent this year.

Markel has been shooting cannons in celebration of Independence Day for over four decades, first at his daughter’s home in Milwaukee and more recently at his home in Greenfield, where the practice has led to noise complaints from neighbors and municipal police citations.

The cannon shots of last year did not take place because of the pandemic.

In 2019, Greenfield police stopped Markel from firing cannons at his home, although he was able to fire them during Independence Day festivities at Alcott Park in Milwaukee.

This year, the 68-year-old Civil War buff has said he has no plans to do so either.

“For starters, there is no Alcott parade, so I won’t be shooting Alcott Park,” he said. “I don’t think there is much going to happen here either, because I’m not going to be bringing in a whole household this year.”

Markel said this was in part due to the pandemic.

“Usually I throw a really big party and we invite the vets and the people to come and kill them, and that gives the Greenfield Police a chance to show up, so I’m sure they’re feeling pretty good. to not have to do it. come here and write me a note, “he said.

In early March 2020, just before the pandemic took hold in southeastern Wisconsin, Markel was preparing to put pressure on the city to allow him to fire the cannons.

He was distributing flyers across town to publicize a meeting of the Greenfield Legislative Committee at which elected leaders were to bring up the topic.

The meeting and topic were postponed due to the pandemic.

This year, although the pandemic has abated, Markel said things were different.

“I think if things keep getting better, I imagine that next year people will be more inclined to go back to doing things like this,” he said. “I’m older. My wife is older. You must be a little smart about this stuff, right?”

But that doesn’t mean Markel won’t shoot cannons at all.

He said he plans to travel to Clear Lake the last weekend in June for the Heritage Days celebration.

Clear Lake is home to Paulson Brothers, which manufactures munitions for the Civil War.

“They fire cannons to start the parade, then we go to the property and fire live ammunition,” Markel said. “He usually pulls a car out of a junkyard. It’s funny. And we don’t yell at you.”

Contact Bob Dohr at 262-361-9140 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @ BobDohr1.



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