Hey Ace: What, in your opinion, transpired to make patrons of the Court Square Tavern the focus of the cannon in front of the courthouse? Don’t mean to stir up any trouble, but it does seem to be rather odd that a Southern city would have its courthouse cannon facing south. Is there something we can/ should do to protect those consumers who might unknowingly walk into enemy fire?—Red E. Aim
Now, now, Red, you’re not soft on drunkards, are you? Ask any good Southern lady: Spend too much of the year’s tobacco profit on the Devil’s elixir and you deserve a good ass whoopin’, be it at the hands of your missus or the barrel of a cannon. And the law-abiding landscapers of Court Square knew as much when they placed the two Confederate army cannons on either side of the entrance to the Albemarle County Courthouse and pointed the barrels toward the tavern—glaring at your drunk ass like the two hawk eyes of your old lady.
But Ace waxes too poetic. Journalistic integrity mandated a call to the County’s Superintendent of Parks, Matt Smith. According to Smith, nothing so, um, sobering, was intended in the placement of the cannons. Smith, who has supervised Albemarle’s parks for more than 30 years, says that when Court Square’s landscapers were sprucing up the place at the turn of the 20th century, the cannons were added for purely aesthetic reasons.
See, the ongoing beautification of Court Square has been a decades-long process, Red; it’s not simply limited to million-dollar bricking projects. Because the courthouse faces south and is thus how the front entrance is situated, the cannons were so placed to create a more formal approach to the house of law and order.
To Ace’s wide-ranging knowledge, the cannons are now defunct. After some nosing around at the Historical Society, Ace concluded that the last time the cannons were put to any good use was in the early 1900s when a local Fourth of July reveler set them off and knocked out windows for blocks. Luckily, all the town drunkards survived.