PLAINFIELD – On Flag Day, Thursday, June 14, Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs hosted a flag pole dedication ceremony for the restored 1918 flag pole at City Hall’s Veterans Memorial. Guests included the newly created Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Military and Veterans Affairs and Father Luis Gonzalez of St. Mary’s Catholic Church.
The flagpole endured damage from natural elements that began to destroy the wooden base of the pole. During a heavy storm in September 2010, the pole shifted in its base and quickly became a safety hazard to pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
The city’s Parks and Recreation Department quickly removed the pole from its base. The flagpole was taken to the Public Works yard where it sat until the spring of 2012. With the assistance of Tom Potenzone of International Flags Decorating Corporation, the Plainfield Public Works Department began the extensive process of restoring the original flagpole.
“I must commend Eric Jackson and John Louise for their commitment to restore and resurrect the original flag pole,” said Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs.
Public Works employees stripped the multiple layers of paint from the pole. After careful inspection, it was determined that another five feet of rotted wood still remained. Following the removal of the damaged wood, the employees began the repair process of filling cracks with the appropriate caulking (oakum and waterproofing material) for aged wood.
The pole’s surface was carefully sanded and treated before applying an undercoat and the final coat of white enamel paint on Monday, June 11. A new aluminum flash collar, a gold aluminum ball, and a cleat were purchased. The original hardware is in storage at the Public Works yard. Currently, the pole stands at 59 feet and is expected to stand for the duration of this century.
The original base was removed during the 1950s and replaced with a concrete base. The replacement base still remains today.
The tapered, wooden flagpole was created by Annin Flagmakers, according to city officials. In the early 20th century, Annin Flagmakers provided direct sales of wooden flag poles at that time. The Plainfield flagpole was purchased sometime between 1918 and 1919. The pole was installed in 1919. It is believed that the flagpole was cut from a single tree and stood 70 feet tall. Today, Annin & Co. no longer manufacture wooden flag poles.
Annin & Co was established in 1847 on Fulton Street in New York City. By the mid-20th century, Annin Flagmakers had become the premier flag maker in the United States and changed its name to Annin & Co. which is reflected in the original cleat that was attached at the base of the pole.
Annin & Co. made historic flags for Admiral Byrd’s North Pole Landing, the U.S. moon landing in 1969, and the flag flown at Ground Zero in the days following 9/11.
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