Cannonball! 19th-Century Weapon Upends 21th-Century Neighborhood

Cannonballs and a cannon

When it was discovered that an old cannonball was in a neighbor’s shed, D.C. Fire and Metropolitan Police were called to Cambridge Place Jan. 21 and a bit of historical hysteria ensued.

Streets were blocked and residents concerned over the possibility of live ammunition as the cannonball appeared to have gunpowder in it.

The Georgetown family, the Norregaards, found the cannonball from the 19th century in their fireplace in December after renovations to the chimney. Rula Norregaard did not know just how volatile the family’s new show-and-tell piece could be, according to her interview with the Washington Post.

Some homes in the 3000 block of Cambridge Place NW – where the Norregaards live — were evacuated.

Most people would think that the only place for a cannonball is in a battle long ago or in a museum display case.

The Cambridge Place house is only a few blocks away from the Oak Hill Cemetery, where famous figures from the 1800s are buried — perhaps, even those responsible for that mysterious cannon ball in the Victorian home, built in the 1890s.

Fearing the potential explosion of the cannon ball’s contents, the Metropolitan Police Department’s bomb squad arrived and then contacted the Army for assistance.

The cannonball was sent to Fort Belvoir in Virginia to be analyzed. Those called to the scene were unable to X-ray it in the Norregaards’ home.

Norregaard told the Washington Post that she would like to have the cannonball back after the testing is complete.

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