Over the past approximately 150 years various structures have adorned Red Cloud’s downtown intersections. The first such object chosen was that of a flag pole. It was to help commemorate the new settlement’s first official Fourth of July in 1871. The duties of finding such were assigned to Peter Head, one of the town’s first physicians, and Charles Gurney, who had homesteaded north of town. They were very diligent in their search and finally found the perfect specimen in Franklin County. Over 80 feet in height, the red cedar tree they selected required two oxen teams to haul it East over a distance of close to 20 miles. It was then hewn to the proper shape and size. Upon meeting everyone’s approval, numerous men hoisted it upright using lariat ropes. The place of honor chosen for such a breathtaking sight was at the town’s main intersection at Fourth Avenue and Webster Streets. Under the guidance of Julia Jackson and Sarah Roats, a group of early female settlers sewed a beautiful flag containing 37 stars – one for each state then in the union. Eventually, the flagpole was moved to the courthouse grounds. By sometime after 1910, after serving as a flagpole for over 40 years, the red cedar pole was fashioned into a variety of smaller objects and boxes by Samuel Kizer, a local carpenter. Some of these are still enjoyed today and contain a note explaining the object’s origin.
– by Suzi Yost Schulz