So long, Centennial Pole! |

So long, Centennial Pole!

Colleen O’Neil

Early on Friday morning, the almost-30-year-old Community Centennial Pole was removed from its place in Two Rivers Park.

The 23-foot totem of native white spruce was sculpted in the summer of 1985 and dedicated on Aug. 25 that year by the Parks and Recreation Department for Glenwood Springs’ centennial celebration. But after years of exposure to the elements, the pole suffered dry rot at the base.

The Parks Department’s plan after taking it down is to put the pole in storage. Next they will put together a committee to decide the next step in the process. The idea, said Parks and Recreation director Tom Barnes, is to either recreate the pole or dismantle it and preserve in indoor locations around town.

Barnes has heard a few complaints over the statue’s appearance and its relevance to local Native American history (the Ute Indians did not traditionally create totem poles).

“The most important thing to know,” said Barnes, “is that it’s not going into the burn pile.”

Diane Arbaney and Jeri Rodgers sketched a plan, and Ole Oldsen oversaw the 12 volunteer artists who helped with the carving. Together, this team decided which symbols to etch into the wood. The imagery gives a snapshot of Glenwood’s history and the natural features that make the area unique. Trout, cattle, hummingbirds, President Theodore Roosevelt (according to legend, he got the nickname “Teddy” on a hunting expedition at the Hotel Colorado) and even the Hanging Lake Trail adorn the old wooden pole. The top of the log is carved in the shape of Mount Sopris. A plaque on the bottom shows the names of the businesses that contributed to the monument.

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