Monday, January 16th, 2017

It took a community to raise the flagpole


Back in August 2013, Ken Halloran of Ken’s Auto Repair in Macedon Center was working at his shop when in walked Cy Packard. Cy asked Ken if he remembered donating $100.00 to the Macedon Historical Society towards a new pair of flagpoles. Cy told him that it had been four years ago and nothing had yet happened. “My first response was a little agitated. I thought about it for a minute and then replied: Give me an hour, I’ll have your flagpoles.” recalls Ken.

Ken called Al Plumb of Alpco Recycling, and asked him for some steel pipe. “I’m going to construct new flagpoles for MHS,” Ken explained. He told Al how much pipe he would need, but then added that he couldn’t pay for the pipe, as he was doing the  project for free. Ken reported that Al said: “You’re killing me, kid, but come down and see what you can find.” One of the reasons Ken gave for building the poles was that MHS was given a quote for $11,000.00 to have the old poles replaced.

Halloran scrounged Alpco Recycling around looking for pipe and found a pile of steel pipe 4-1/2” outside diameter, 21 feet long each. He also needed a piece of pipe to connect the monster pipes. He found a piece of old steam pipe  – one inch thick but with a  3-7/8” outside diameter. “PERFECT!”, Ken thought.

Back at the shop, Halloran figured this would be a slam dunk. He put  one piece of pipe on his drive-on lift and the other on his flatbed, raised the drive-on level with the flatbed and start ed welding. When he was finished, he had a 42 foot long banana. Back to the drawing board.

The solution to the flagpole jig?  Take a steel wheel from a car then lay it on the ground. Stand another steel wheel upright and weld them together. Ken made eight sets of wheels strung across the north side of his building and leveled them. He set a piece of pipe on the newly made jig. Ken figured he would slide or rotate the pipe with ease. Fitting the 3-7/8 OD pipe into the 4” ID pipe was a piece of cake, Ken said. Trying to pound them together required using his truck bumper as a backstop. He repeated the process three more times, and when all the grinding and welding was completed there were two fifty foot poles nice and straight.

The paint and all the paint materials were supplied by Macedon Parts Plus. Bill Flick donated some caps for the top of the poles. Mike at Iron Art Welding made him a solid set of brackets for the pulley system. The holes for the poles, drilled to ten feet deep were  dug by a crew from Fairport Electric, who returned a week later to set the poles.

Ken also praised the effort of Bill Hammond, the Town Supervisor and local farmer. Anytime Ken needed a hand, backhoe and concrete work, Bill stepped up to the plate. Ken and Gary Hammond also stepped up. At the end of the day the poles were done just in time for Memorial Day.

Macedon Center has its flagpole, and the huge (approximately 30’ x 40’)  flag is ready for flying on patriotic occasions. The flag was donated on Flag Day, June 14, 2009 by Waste Management Company. It was unveiled at a ceremony where the flag was dedicated to the Packard family, whose ancestors began the original Macedon Center Historical Society.