Anyone out there want a free 46-foot flagpole?

08/29/2013 10:00 AM |
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Mark Baxter of Southold and his 48-foot flagpole.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Mark Baxter of Southold and his 46-foot flagpole.

Single, white elderly flagpole seeks caring, compassionate man or woman. Must be good painter, able to provide TLC. Am willing to relocate for free. Liking heights is a MUST.

It’s not the kind of personal ad you’d expect to see, but then again, this 70-year-old flagpole isn’t exactly ordinary.

After flying the American flag over a Southold property for more than 20 years, the four-story- tall tapered wooden pole is in need of a new home, its owner said. He’s looking to donate the historic pole, but only to a deserving owner.

“I want to give it to somebody who’s worthy of it,” said Mark Baxter of Main Bayview Road.

The thick wooden flagpole, which has been traced back to 1943, first flew over Peterkin Park in Amityville, where Mr. Baxter was born and raised, like his father and grandfather before him.

His father had been a police officer in town and was responsible for raising and lowering flags from the pole, Mr. Baxter said.

In the late 1980s, Mr. Baxter decided to move to Southold, but noticed that Amityville Village was beginning to replace flagpoles around town. The flagpole he now has was next on the chopping block, literally.

“I guess the guys in the village highway department didn’t want to paint it,” he said.

Mr. Baxter — who served as an Army engineer in Vietnam and whose father was an Army officer in the Pacific Theater — knew he had to save the pole.

“One, it was available,” he said. “And the other thing was that I was very thankful to come out to Southold and I really like my country. My father had flown the flagpole and I thought it was a nice thing I could do.”

Mr. Baxter considered loading the flagpole on top of his van, but realized 15 feet of it would protrude from each end of the vehicle. Instead, a nearby boating company transported the flagpole on one of the long trailers usually reserved for boats.

North Fork Welding and Steel Supply in Greenport originally created a ring for the top of the pole, and after a fresh paint job the flagpole was ready to rise again.

Mr. Baxter dug a five-foot deep, five-foot square hole a few hundred feet from his house, on a higher area of the property, and filled it with cement as a base for the pole.

There it stood, flying the American flag previously owned by Mr. Baxter’s father — until six months ago, when Mr. Baxter subdivided his property and sold the land the flagpole was on. He had hoped to move the flagpole closer to his house, but realized he couldn’t dig a support for it so close to the nearby wetlands.

“I can’t dig a hole without having water in it,” he said.

The pole is now resting on blocks in his yard, waiting for a new home. Mr. Baxter asked the Amityville VFW if they would take the pole back, but they balked.

“When they found out how big it was they got all scared off,” he said. “It’s too much work to paint it and everything.”

In the meantime, the old pole has proven sturdy, surviving Sandy’s storm surge and this year’s record-shattering nor’easter.

Mr. Baxter said he’s giving the pole away for free and would even paint it if need be for anyone willing to give it a new home.

“It’s old, but it’s in pretty good shape,” he said.

Call Mr. Baxter at 631-765-5196 if you’re interested in his flagpole.

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