Liberty Pole Dedicated – July 4, 1865

On July 4, 1865, the Liberty Pole was dedicated to those who had served in the Civil War.  It stood 112 feet tall and included a bandstand.  It was located at the northeast corner of Main Street and St. Clair Street.

Raising the Liberty Pole

Taken from Hildamae Waltz Bowman’s book, Almont; The Tale of Then and Now.  Originally, the story was published in the August 11, 1955 issue of the Almont Times Herald.  It was written by Ernie Force.

It was the Fourth of July, 1865, and a gala day in the village of Almont.  The Civil War had ended and although the troops had not yet been mustered out, many had been allowed to come home on furlough.  At the crowded gathering in the street were many commissioned officers in their gold braid and chevrons, their wide hats with their tasseled cords, and privates with the Union blue uniforms and caps.  These were the heroes of the day, for a large wooden flag pole was to be erected to their honor.

The pole had been made from two white pine trees, which had been brought down, one at a time from Black’s Corners northwest of Imlay City.  A six-horse team was used and hitched to a high-wheeled truck, such as were used in the woods in those days.

These trees, upon the arrival in Almont, were score hacked and hand hewed to the correct size, bolted together with large countersunk bolts, and then planed and painted.  The lower log, when completed, squared two feet at the base, was eighty feet long and squared one foot at the top.

The upper log squared more than a foot at the base, was fifty feet long and squared six inches at the top where it terminated in a pylon.  The top of the lower part and the base of the upper part were halved for a distance of ten feet to make the splice, giving the pole a total length of one hundred twenty feet.  About sixteen feet from the base, there was a hand carved moulding at which point the pole was reduced about four inches in size and from this point extended to the top a smooth shaft.

A hole had been dug in front of the Ferguson Bank, which was on the corner of N. Main and E. St. Clair St., three feet in diameter and eight feet deep to receive the pole.  A bandstand about sixteen feet in diameter was planned and was later added.  Many band concerts were heard, through the years, from this bandstand.

The pole, in its bright coat of paint, lay on a series of blocks to facilitate raising. The base was chained to stakes driven in the ground, so that it could not move ahead when being raised.

So picture if you will, on this memorable day, the soldiers in uniform, the older men in stovepipe hats, long coats ad fancy boots, the women in an ensemble of matching parasol, bonnet and hoop skirts, amid band playing and great fanfare, with as many around the pole as there was room for, and with the help of the pike poles ad a hearty “heave ho” the pole was raised.  Soon Old Glory, to many hurrahs, was floating in the breeze.  Voices were muted and heads were bared when the Band played the “Star Spangled Banner”.

July 17, 1919 – Almont Herald

The old Liberty Pole, its stately head high among the clouds, watched over its people dignified and deliberate for many a year.  Its clean, lean, trim and prim figure pictured the high type of Almont’s founders.  It filled its duty and passed on. Nothing could be done to better preserve the glory of early Almont than to restore our fine, old Liberty Pole, but it cannot be done.  Such timber does not now exist.

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