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British anchor finds a home at Plattsburgh’s War of 1812 museum

War of 1812 Museaum Director Dave Deno, with the British anchor which was donated recently to the museum. Deno is researching to determine which era in local history the anchor dates from.

War of 1812 Museaum Director Dave Deno, with the British anchor which was donated recently to the museum. Deno is researching to determine which era in local history the anchor dates from. Photo by Shawn Ryan.

— A mystery of sorts now anchors Plattsburgh’s War of 1812 Museum.

Last fall, Nancy Maynard of Plattsburgh donated the museum a British anchor her husband Bill Sr. located and salvaged in 1987 in the lake, about 300 yards off their Point Au Roche property. After raising the anchor, it sat as a centerpiece in their yard until this past week, when it was relocated to Plattsburgh’s burgeoning museum row at the old base.

The anchor, which weighs between 1,200 and 1,500 pounds, bears marks of the British Admiralty. So it definitely came off a British ship, according to museum Director Dave Deno. What he’s not sure about, he says, is whether it is from the Revolutionary War or War of 1812.

‘“It’s one of a kind, you’re definitely not going to find something like that around here,” says Deno.

That particular type of anchor was used by the Admiralty throughout the 1700s and 1800s, making a cursory dating impossible.

Deno says there are several types of tests that can be done on the steel of the anchor and the wood of the shank. The shank, which is a cross-piece at the top of the anchor, is currently not on display because of its level of decomposition. Deno also says that there is a method that can be employed, called huing, which will strengthen the shank so it can someday be displayed as well.

Staff at the museum will also be utilizing other sources of research to try to date the anchor, and determine the ship it came off.

“There’s no wreckage down there that we know of,” says Deno. “I’m sure we’ll solve this mystery.”

Deno and his small staff is also busy readying the soon to open Plattsburgh Air Force base museum, which will be across the road from the 1812 Museum. The new museum, he says, is coming together nicely. Several North Country residents have donated items for display, particularly photographs.

Anyone with items to donate can contact Deno at 566-1812. The Air Force base museum will open its doors June 7.

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