LEBANON — A Lebanon couple cleaning out their garage Sunday found what they believed to be a cannonball.
“We were getting ready for an estate sale and we found it under a wooden, built-in cabinet laying on concrete,” said Lori Slaughenhaupt, whose house on Edwards Drive is about 12 miles northeast of Lebanon. “I’ve lived here 18 years and it had to have been here before we moved in.”
Slaughenhaupt said her husband, David Fry, is an archaeology buff, and he inspected the ball and found what he thought was an 1856 date imprinted on it.
“He thought it was a live cannonball and still full of powder,” Slaughenhaupt said. “Cannonballs can become unstable over time with temperature changes, but it was never where it reached high temperatures.”
Because they thought there was no danger of an explosion, the couple put it in the backseat of their car and drove it to the Lebanon Justice Center, arriving about 9 p.m.
Slaughenhaupt and Fry brought the cannonball inside to police, who asked them to take the ball back outside. Officers blocked off the parking lot and then called the Oregon State Police Explosives Unit in Salem to come take a look.
“We took possession of it at 10:42 p.m.,” said state police Sgt. Del Grande. “We measured it and it is about 6 inches in diameter and it weighs about 17 pounds.”
The ball is now in Salem, where experts are trying to find out exactly what it is.
“We aren’t sure if it is alive or inert,” he said. “X-rays have been taken and the military has been consulted.”
Now state police are waiting to hear back from their sources.