.


Frequently Asked Questions about the Ravenna Flagpole


When was the flagpole built?
The flagpole was built in 1893. It first flew the American flag on Memorial Day of that year.

Why was the flagpole built?
The current flagpole replaced a wooden flagpole that was blown down during a wind storm. The community leaders believed that the American flag should be flown at the center of the Portage County Seat on a pole that was befitting the Stars and Stripes. The iconic steel structure was chosen to withstand the elements and create a monument of civic expression.

flagpole with statue
Ravenna's Flagpole is nearly the height of the Statue of Liberty. Enlarge this picture.
How tall is the flagpole?
The flagpole is 150 feet high. The copper section of the Statue of Liberty is just 13 inches taller.

Who built the flagpole?
The flagpole was built by the Van Dorn Iron Works Company. Its founder, James Van Dorn, began his business in Akron, Ohio and moved to Cleveland. His firm was known for ornate iron fencing, iron structural work, postal boxes, decorative urns, and the manufacture of tanks for both World Wars. In fact, one of the Van Dorn urns is displayed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Who owns the flagpole?
Ravenna Township maintains the flagpole. The monies to erect the flagpole came from the Village of Ravenna and Ravenna Township.

How much did the flagpole cost to build?

The Township Trustees paid $800.00 to build the flagpole and the original iron fence that surrounded it. The fence was lost when the flagpole was moved.

Who were the Ravenna Township Trustees at the time of the purchase?
The Trustees were David Lindsay, Richard Evans and John E. Sharp. On October 13, 1892 it was decided that Trustee Lindsay and Township Clerk H.L. Bratty would go to Cleveland to secure specifications and an offer for the flagpole. On October 18, 1892 they met in special session again with Messrs.’ Lindsay, Evans and Sharp present. They made a motion and accepted the bid of $800.00 from Van Dorn Iron Works to build the flagpole.

former position
Before 1923.
Was the flagpole moved?
Yes, the flagpole originally sat in Main Street about 15 feet north of its current location. It was moved in 1923 to accommodate the automobile traffic that became prominent at the turn of the 20th century.

Who moved the flagpole?

The flagpole was moved by C. R. “Chet” Jones of Ravenna. Mr. Jones was well-known throughout northeast Ohio as an expert in moving large structures. The flagpole was jacked-up 8 inches, lowered onto rails and pulled the thirty feet (as reported by one news article) in just twelve minutes.

How much does the flagpole weigh?
We are not exactly sure. An article published in 1923 indicated that the weight of the flagpole was 15 tons.

Has the flagpole always been the color it is today?
We are not quite sure. Early news articles indicated that it was painted white.

Van DDorn Iron Works
The Van Dorn Iron Works
tower
Ravenna's Flagpole is a symbol of our community much the way the Eiffel Tower is  a symbol of Paris, France.

What is so special about the flagpole?
The use of built-up steel members in the late 19th century for bridges and other structures provided an interesting kit of parts that could be used for all kinds of purposes. In this case the idea was to use the steel box lattice structure to erect a very tall flagpole that must have been one of the earliest using this technology and one of the highest flagpoles in the country in the late 19th century. It appears that Van Dorn Iron Works Company erected three others in New York State. As far as is known only one, a similar steel lattice structure with a shorter pole, in Palmyra, New York remains. The Ravenna flagpole has been perhaps the most conspicuous feature of central Ravenna since it was erected. While the 19th century courthouse has come and gone, the flagpole remains the tallest object in the city and a kind of symbol of the city in much the same way that the Eiffel Tower functions in Paris.

How do I contribute money?
Make your check payable to Friends of the Flagpole Association. You can send your checks to

Friends of the Flagpole Association
P.O. Box 444
Ravenna, OH 44266

Or you can drop off your check at any branch of Portage Community Bank or Hometown Bank.

How can I help?

Please contact us through this website.

 

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player