A historic 100-ft. flagstaff that stood in front of Augusta State University’s Payne Hall for 111 years before it was removed in 2011 will be reinstalled Wednesday, May 23. The staff, constructed by the N. O. Nelson Factories in Leclaire, Ill., in 1901, was originally installed by the U.S. Army when ASU’s campus was the Augusta Arsenal (1827-1955). It is thought to be one of the few remaining Nelson staffs in use today.
According to Fred Ricketson, ASU campus architect, the staff was damaged when lightning struck a nearby tree and caused a large limb to fall and break one of the support cables. “We were concerned that the broken structural collar could fail in high winds and cause the structure to fall. We dismantled the staff in order to minimize the risk of collapse,” he said. The original bolts and other pieces of the flagstaff were kept and will be used in the reinstallation, according to Ricketson.
“The flagpole is a campus landmark,” he said. It has served as a gathering spot for campus, particularly for special programs such as the 9-11 Remembrance ceremony and Veterans Day ceremony. “It was a remarkable feat of engineering and construction in 1901 when it was erected and is a tribute to the Augusta Arsenal and the role it played in America at that point in history,” he said when the staff was dismantled last year.
Ricketson said that the area will be barricaded while the staff is being reinstalled on May 23; however, staff from the physical plant will be available to help pedestrians who need assistance.