From 1901 to 1965, there was a 104 foot tall flagpole near Spruce Hall at Colorado State University. Of course, when the flagpole was first put up, the school was called the Colorado Agricultural College (CAC). Thirty-four years later the name was changed to the Colorado State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts (Colorado A&M or CAM). And twenty-two years after that, it became Colorado State University. So the flagpole saw some pretty significant changes during the time it stood sentinel over the school.
According to Gordon Hazard, who works in the CSU Archive and Special Collections Department, the flagpole was made from a single tree that had been harvested in Idaho.
What I find most delightful about this photo is all the little details you can pick out when you zoom in. The three women in the center foreground, for example, remind me of the Georges Seurat painting, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.” In the midst of the crowd to the right you can just make out the back wheel of a bicycle. And along College Avenue in the background, there doesn’t appear to be a single car — just horse-drawn carriages.
Because the flagpole was made of wood, it had to be painted every few years. The photo above shows the same flagpole as it looked in 1958, when it was getting a fresh coat of paint.
By zooming in, we can again see the traffic on College Avenue, this time made up solely of cars. Not a horse to be seen.
Here’s one last (colorized) picture of the flag. It displays 45 stars, which means the photo is from 1907 or earlier. Oklahoma was the 46th state added to the Union in November of 1907.
There are several more photos of the flagpole in the CSU Archive.
Thanks to Gordon Hazard for his information on the origins of the flagpole and the dates for when it was standing at the University.