As the Spanish-American War came to an end in 1898, a group of Delta businessmen thought it would be a good idea to have a flagpole in the center of town. So Delta erected a 75-foot tall flag pole in the center of the intersection of Main and Third Streets and proudly displayed a giant 45-star US flag.
In August 1898, an 86-foot tall tree was cut and hauled off of Grand Mesa to Delta. The Delta County Independent noted that several Eckert residents had reported seeing the giant pole being hauled down the Surface Creek road.
Businessmen Frank Dodge and Frank Sanders volunteered to see that the pole was properly placed. The Town of Delta built a band stand around the flagpole “for the benefit of the band boys.” Unfortunately, the affixing of a pulley to the top of the flagpole was an afterthought. The newspaper noted that “the pulley was so far down the pole that the flag flies constantly at half-mast,” leaving everybody asking, “who is dead?”
When electricity came to Delta in 1900, the town thought it would be a great idea to hang a light bulb atop the flagpole (well, half-way up) to illuminate Main Street. The light bulb and wiring were attached to the flag pulley and hoisted half-way up the 75-foot pole. The pulley system was needed in order to be able to change the light bulb when it burned out. At that time, the city power plant was located at First and Main.
In 1898, traffic on Main Street, with few exceptions, was entirely horse-drawn buggies and wagons. However, within a few years automobiles were common along Main Street. The flagpole and band-stand became a frequent target of early motorists whose driving skills preceded the requirement for a driver’s license. The town enacted a 7-mph speed limit within intersections, but somehow a few motorists still managed to hit the flagpole.
By 1908, the Town of Delta condemned the flagpole and bandstand as “dangerous.” On April 9, 1908, the town took down the flagpole and replaced it with a smaller one. The small flagpole might only have lasted a year or two, as there are no known photographs featuring a smaller flagpole.
DELTA COUNTY MUSEUM Delta County Historical Society
Quarterly Newsletter Issue No. 87 July – September, 2016
NEWSLETTER EDITOR: Jim Wetzel