McGill’s Flag Pole
By Keith Gibson
The summer of 1944 had just began when a small group of McGill boys, decided to climb up to the flag pole on the peak. We were all about 9 years old and full of that “stuff” and vinegar, so off we went. It was a much harder task than we realized, but we finally made it to the top. It would be 72 years later that I decided to research the story of that pole. The following compilation is gleaned from the WP News, April, 29, 1917, and by stories I had heard over the years.
The pole was put up to honor the United States entrance into WW1 in April of 1817.
The 100 foot pole was made up of 10 foot sections. It was hauled up the hill on mules and which sometimes had to be helped with block and tackle secured to trees and rocks. A 10 foot hole was drilled in the solid rock to support the pole. It was raised into place by the use of a gin pole setup. Electric lights will bounce off a reflector attached to the weather vane to shine on Old Glory at night. The whole operation was a feat of engineering and patriotism. It can be seen from quite a distance and is always a welcome home sign to any former McGillite.
A giant 20 X 32 foot American flag was raised at 4 o’clock on Sunday, April 29, 1917. Similar flag raisings were held earlier that day in Ruth and Ely. All ceremonies had patriotic speeches and bands.
There are many stories about individuals that raised the flag every day for years. The most consistent one I heard was about a man that lived in a tent at the Berry Creek Grove and walked over the mountain to work every day. He was named Shorty King and was tagged with the nickname of “Shortcut”. If you have any info on this, please drop me a line at P.O.Box 1315, McGill, Nv.
One young man in McGill convinced his girlfriend that it was a local custom to have to climb to the peak to receive an engagement ring. Sounds like a good custom and healthy at the same time.