Double Barrel Cannon: A Unique Piece of History in Athens, GA

The Double Barrel Cannon in Athens, Georgia, is a rare and unusual artifact that stands as a testament to the ingenuity and innovation of the past. This intriguing piece of history holds a special place in the hearts of locals and visitors, representing an era of experimentation in military technology. This article will explore the history, design, significance, and preservation efforts surrounding the Double Barrel Cannon in Athens, GA. Information concerning Athens, GA can be discovered here.

Historical Background:

The Double Barrel Cannon was created during the American Civil War by a skilled blacksmith and inventor, John Gilleland. His inspiration for the cannon came from a desire to develop a weapon that could fire two cannonballs simultaneously, doubling its effectiveness on the battlefield. Gilleland’s creation was intended to be a defensive weapon, protecting the city of Athens from potential attacks during the war. Discover facts about Sandy Creek Nature Center: Exploring Nature’s Wonders in Athens, GA.

Unique Design and Mechanism:

The Double Barrel Cannon features two barrels positioned side by side, allowing two cannonballs to be fired simultaneously with a single shot. Each barrel has its ignition system, ensuring that both shots are discharged simultaneously. The cannon’s distinctive design makes it a rare and fascinating artifact of its time.

Placement and Historical Significance:

In 1863, the Double Barrel Cannon was installed on the lawn of the University of Georgia in Athens, serving as a symbol of defense and resilience during the Civil War. While it never saw combat, the cannon represented the city’s determination to protect its people and resources during a tumultuous period in American history.

Preservation and Relocation:

Over the years, the Double Barrel Cannon faced challenges from exposure to the elements and potential vandalism. In the 1950s, it was moved from its original location on the university campus to its current site at the corner of Hancock Avenue and College Avenue in downtown Athens. The relocation aimed to protect the artifact while making it accessible to the public.

Landmark and Attraction:

Today, the Double Barrel Cannon is a landmark and popular attraction in Athens, GA. Visitors are drawn to the cannon’s unique design and historical significance, making it a must-see stop for history enthusiasts and curious travelers alike. The cannon is a tangible reminder of Athens’ past and contributions to the nation’s history.

Community Engagement and Education:

The cannon continues to foster community engagement and education. Local organizations and historical societies offer guided tours and educational programs, sharing the story of the Double Barrel Cannon and its connection to the city’s history. These initiatives help preserve the artifact’s significance and ensure its historical context is passed down to future generations.

Preserving History for the Future:

Efforts to preserve and protect the Double Barrel Cannon are ongoing. The local community, historical societies, and government officials work together to ensure that the artifact remains a treasured piece of history for future generations to admire and learn from. Regular maintenance and conservation measures are taken to safeguard the cannon’s structural integrity and historical value.


The Double Barrel Cannon in Athens, GA, is a unique and historically significant artifact from the American Civil War era. Its innovative design and historical background make it a remarkable attraction for locals and visitors to explore and appreciate. Through community engagement, education, and preservation efforts, the Double Barrel Cannon remains a cherished piece of Athens’ history, symbolizing the city’s resilience and commitment to its heritage.

Would love to help you with your next project! Schedule your Free Assessment today!

Scroll to Top