Execution Hollow

A place for odd or rarely told stories about pre-WWI West Point & the Hudson Valley. 

Lightning Strikes the Flag Pole, 1895

Lightning Strikes the Flag Pole, 1895

In honor of Flag Day (and the Army's Birthday) comes this story of resiliency from June 30, 1895:

West Point Flag Pole, 19th century, exact date unknown. Source: The New York Public Library

West Point Flag Pole, 19th century, exact date unknown. Source: The New York Public Library

"At 8:30 o’clock this morning the cadets who attend services in the little Catholic church at the foot of the hill assembled in the barracks area. They marched along Professor’s Row, and turned in the path through Trophy Point, where the large flagpole stands. The pole was over 100 feet high. The squad of cadets had just passed, and were not yet thirty feet from the pole, when a vivid flash of lightning came down from Cro’ Nest.

"The detachment of cadets was stunned, and a few fell to the ground, but in less than a minute all had recovered.

"Pieces of wood from three to fifteen feet long were strewn all around them. The big flagpole had been struck by the bolt, and was splintered into thousands of pieces. To-day hundreds of people are viewing the ruined pole, and nearly half of it has been carried away by relic hunters."

A new pole was promised in “a few days” but it seems that it took three months to begin erecting the replacement (mid-October). Its specifications were listed as:

Bottom Section: 97' long made of white pine, 2.5’ in diameter set into a brick-lined hole 14’ feet and filled with concrete.

Top Section: 60’

Total height: 130’

Cost: $1,000

Happy Flag Day! 

Sources:

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. "View of West Point." New York Public Library Digital Collections. 

"A New Flagstaff on Trophy Point," New York Times, October 19, 1895, 10. 

"The West Point Flagpole Gone," New York Times, July 1, 1895, 1. 

 

Thayer Statue Unveiled, 1883

Thayer Statue Unveiled, 1883

A Problematic Purchase of Polo Ponies

A Problematic Purchase of Polo Ponies