Flag and pole will rise again at Fort SewardOld Glory is expected to wave in the wind again at Fort Seward sometime this summer after a series of repairs sidelined one of Jamestown’s most recognizable landmarks.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
Old Glory is expected to wave in the wind again at Fort Seward sometime this summer after a series of repairs sidelined one of Jamestown’s most recognizable landmarks.
Volunteers at the fort noticed a crack in the flagpole by the door to the winch that raises and lowers the 60-foot by 30-foot flag around Memorial Day in 2010, said Dale Marks, chairman of the Fort Seward reconstruction/veterans memorial committee.
Because the warranty on the flagpole expired the manufacturer wasn’t able to fix the problem but the company did send a metal patch to cover the crack and reinforce the pole, Marks said.
“We never expected to have trouble with that pole,” he said.
The manufacturer said the 130-foot pole could withstand winds of 120 mph. Marks estimated it has seen maybe winds of 60 mph in its five-year history in Jamestown.
The giant flag doesn’t even fly in winds more than 25 mph because, “wind has no mercy on a flag, it tears it up pretty easily,” Marks said.
Last year the flag flew briefly around Labor Day, but the problem persisted and to avoid damage the pole had to be taken down. The Veterans’ Wall was in danger and so was anyone standing in the way, he said.
“We saw that crack and we looked at it and my stomach kind of flipped because the crack was two-thirds around (the flagpole),” he said.
Marks isn’t positive on what caused the crack but the square shape of the winch door and being exposed to southern winds are two factors, he said.
Nick Scherbenske and Bob Haugen removed the flagpole from the ground last year. The winter snow covered it until this spring.
After analyzing the flagpole metal, cast pipe, a solution was discovered.
“We came to the conclusion that cast pipe is not the way to go,” Marks said.
Engineers determined that a 42-foot section of steel pipe would be much stronger than the cast pipe. So a section was ordered and by the end of May it arrived — in two 21-foot sections, instead of the one piece that was needed.
It was sent back. A new 42-foot section recently arrived and Dan Poland Machine is currently getting the section ready.
This time an oval winch door will be installed and it will face the east, which sees less wind than the south.
Marks doesn’t have a set date for when the U.S. flag will wave again, but he’s optimistic that it’ll be sometime this summer.
“It’s going to be a process yet,” he said. “It’ll take some time.”
It can’t come soon enough for tourism, because the flag is a recognizable marker that lets visitors know another tourist site isn’t that far from Interstate 94, said Nina Sneider, executive director of the Buffalo City Tourism Foundation.
“Prior to adding the flagpole with the big flag visitors were interested in Fort Seward, but after that was added the interest increased in a large way,” Sneider said.
For many residents summer hasn’t arrived until they can look up and see Old Glory blowing in the wind, she said.
“I know the people of Jamestown really miss having that flag,” Sneider said.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by e-mail at email@example.com