2010-11-03 / Front Page

Antique Ammunition Causes Main Street Scare

All is well now: No gunpowder plot in Cold Spring
Staff Reports

"Remember, remember the fifth of November" could have taken on a new meaning in Cold Spring today. On the anniversary of the Nov. 5, 1605, Gunpowder Plot in the U.K., the village had a brief gunpowder scare of its own, this one entirely innocuous.

Early on Friday afternoon, a portion of Main Street was cordoned off as police and other authorities investigated antique ammunition feared still to be live. The ammunition, reportedly from the Civil War, was intended for sale at a local antique shop, and someone there became concerned that it might be a hazard. Surrounding shops and apartments were evacuated by authorities for nearly two hours.

The ammunition was reportedly taken by officials to Mayor's Park, where it was blown up around 3:10pm, with a thunderous noise rivaling the sound of the cannons sometimes heard from across the river at West Point. Shops are again open on Main Street.

Ironically—and entirely unrelated—the Boscobel historic site had planned on hosting a "Guy Fawkes Bonfire Night" this evening to mark the spoiling of Guy Fawkes's Gunpowder Plot on the English Houses of Parliament in the battle for Catholic emancipation. After an outcry from the local Knights of Columbus, the Boscobel celebration was changed to just a "Bonfire Night" due to the association of Guy Fawkes Day with anti-Catholicism  (Due to weather concerns, Bonfire Night has been moved to Saturday, Nov. 6.) The day is also associated with pro-British loyalist sentiment, which some saw as an odd fit for a cradle of the American Revolution. Gen. George Washington banned the commemoration in the Continental Army.

To this day, some revelers—mainly in the U.K.—burn the pope and the traitorous Guy Fawkes in effigy while reciting the rhyme, "Remember, remember the fifth of November, The Gunpowder Treason and Plot, I know of no reason, Why the Gunpowder Treason, Should ever be forgot."

No rhymes will likely be made about the events that took place in Cold Spring today. Thanks to the alertness of a local shopkeeper and the swift action of local authorities, the antique gunpowder caused no harm outside of minor inconveniences. And there will be new cause to celebrate at Boscobel's Bonfire Night Saturday evening—this time a celebration of an American community coming together to quickly diffuse a potential problem.

Look for full coverage of Friday's events in next week's PCN&R.

For more information on Boscobel's Bonfire Night, which is now being held "in honor of [British] loyalist States Dyckman," click here.

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