Did You Know ????
Did you know that our Decatur Elks Lodge 993 Flagpole which sits in front of our Lodge Building has a unique history ?
In 1933, a group of people from the Decatur Elks Lodge, led by Jesse Niblick, and including a 10 year old Joe Weber, attended the 1933 World's Fair in Chicago.
This was a huge event. People from all over the world came to witness the absolute latest inventions that were helping get America, and the rest of the world into modern times, so to speak.
There is much history available on the World's Fair from Chicago. Google it, and you can spend hours on the subject.
One of the real standouts of the Fair, was the Avenue of Flags. It was a main corridor where people went from area to area. It stood out because of its size, and nearly every article you see on the Fair mentions this.
This is where our Decatur Elks Lodge flagpole came from.
Jesse Niblick, being the resourceful person he was, inquired with the actual builders and management of the Fair about the flagpoles. The Fair itself lasted several months, but after it concluded, much of it was disassembled.....including, as Jesse found out, the Avenue of Flags.
Jesse arranged to purchase one of the flagpoles. He had it shipped back to Decatur on a railroad flatcar. These flagpoles were set at an angle, and had extra steel added as supports. Jesse had to have the flagpole re-fabricated a bit for our intended purpose. He had it installed at our old Lodge Building. That was a 3 story structure, and the large flagpole looked grand in its honored place.
When we built our new Lodge Building, directly in front of the old building, we went to a more modern, single story structure. Cal Yost, the builder of our current building, took the huge flagpole, and had it cut down to its current length, so it would fit to a better scale with our structure.
The current Lodge Officers of Decatur Lodge are working to restore the flagpole with a new coat of paint, new surrounding landscaping, and a new set of flags that were donated by Mike Magsamen.
Flag day is Monday, June 14th. A ceremony celebrating our flag will take place at the Lodge.
Thank you to Joe Weber, who was at the fair with Jesse Niblick at the impressionable age of 10 years old. Joe recalled many of the details in this story.
I personally remember speaking with Sam Yost and Mike Ford at the Lodge and talking about this very subject.
We all can be proud of the history behind our Decatur Elks Lodge flagpole.
Edgar B. Dyer, State Secretary
Indiana Elks Association
332 Mercer Avenue
Decatur, Indiana 46733-2033