• Last modified 3133 days ago (Jan. 26, 2011)


Now we know

Postcard makes us
curious about flagpole

Our friend Mike Powers received an interesting letter from a man in Arizona. Enclosed with the letter was a postcard with a mailing date of 1 p.m. Oct. 24, 1930, from Marion, Kansas.

The postcard featured a picture of the county courthouse with its well-manicured lawn and trees. Lowell Joerg, an 82-year-old resident of Tucson, found the souvenir in an antique store in Tucson, purchased it, and decided to send it to someone in Marion. Eighth Judicial District Chief Judge Powers’ name and address were found online by a friend of Joerg’s.

The letter read in part, “I sure hope this letter brightens your day. I was at an antique store here and found this old circa 1930 era picture card of your beautiful courthouse. It’s an old time classic, for sure. I thought to myself, ‘By golly, I think I’ll send it back to where it can be appreciated’. Our heritage is valuable to all of us. Lots of changes, too, over the years I’m sure. Enlarged it will make a much talked about display. My wife says if I hear from you I’ll have to take her to lunch. I am 82 years old and still going strong. I like to call my little hobby, ‘A re-distribution of happiness’. Our world sure needs it. Thank you and Godspeed in your work. And best wishes for a happy New Year. P.S. Send along a little about your place today if you want. I enjoy souvenirs, too, if it’s OK with you.”

The postcard is in remarkable condition. When looking at the 80-year-old heirloom, one can’t help but to notice that standing in the courtyard was a flagpole. This was no ordinary flagpole. It towered well above the courthouse clock tower.

Why was there a flagpole of this distinction on the county courthouse lawn? And what happened to it?

“I remember it was twice as tall as the one we have now,” Bud Hannaford said.

The American flag flew 24-7 from the pole. The flag was one of the first things visitors saw as they approached the city.

Eventually the ropes deteriorated and an unconventional method had to be used to break the rope to bring down the flag.

“They brought in an expert with a bow and arrow,” Hannaford said. “It sounds crazy but it really did happen.”

After a tornado in the 1970s, the flagpole was replaced with a shorter one.

Thank you, Mr. Joerg of Tucson, Ariz., for sending the postcard and “re-distributing happiness” in Marion. A little happiness was redistributed to him we hope with postcards and information about Marion.

— susan berg

Last modified Jan. 26, 2011