LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) – While performing routine maintenance, construction crews found a pocket pistol, likely from the 19th century, underneath pavement outside of Glory Days Bar in downtown La Crosse.
“It was stunning. It was an eye-opener, and we were thinking ‘oh, we better call the police’,” Glory Days Bar Owner Mark Schneider said.
According to antique and weapons expert Bob Camardo, the gun, also known as a “cap and ball” pistol, were common and affordable weapons manufactured between 1840 and 1860.
“It was for personal protection. Small pocket pistols have to be used up close. It was used by somebody who felt they needed personal protection in close range situations,” La Crosse County Historical Society Curator Peggy Derrick said.
Derrick said because the gun is “too far gone” and rotted, it’s hard to determine whether it was ever used.
“There is not a lot we can say about that particular object with certainty,” Derrick said.
Schneider said he has no plans to sell or restore the gun, and he will keep it in a display case inside, as it should provide quick the kick to his bar.
“This gun is useless in so many ways and worthless, because it is not even usable. But it’s priceless because we found it right here in La Crosse, right in downtown,” Schneider said.
Schneider said he originally believed the pistol was a Derringer—similar to the type of gun used by John Wilkes Booth to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln.
Derrick said the difference though is that the gun found outside Glory Days has a metal handle, while the gun used to assassinate Lincoln had a wood handle.
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