Samford University

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Hidden Gems: The Flagpole

Standing centerfield at Joe Lee Griffin Field is a flagpole with a strong Samford University history.

FlagpoleThe flagpole originally stood near Old Main on the East Lake campus of what was then called Howard College. After the college moved to Homewood in 1957, the campus stood without a flagpole; that is, before a few students took matters into their own hands.

On Jan. 16, 1958, several Howard College students took the pole down from the East Lake campus and began to carry it on their shoulders to the new Homewood campus. There were 23 carriers involved, and the flagpole weighed 750 pounds.

Before long, the flagpole began to weigh heavier and heavier, and the men eventually left the pole in a ditch.

To their disbelief, the flagpole did find its way to campus, but at the hand of a few men from an unexpected place: Birmingham-Southern College. At the time, the competitive feeling between the two crosstown rivals was still strong. The Birmingham-Southern men picked up the flagpole and carried it, in a truck, to the Homewood campus.

"That was the most humbling part of it. We had to go beg for it," said David Davidson, a 1958 Howard College graduate.

The flagpole was then erected at the southwest corner of the library, where it stood for nearly 40 years. In the late 1990s, dual flagpoles were erected in Sherman Circle, and the old flagpole was moved to the baseball field.

Today, the flagpole continues to stand tall at Joe Lee Griffin Field, representing not only an important story in Samford's history, but also a few students' commitment to bring along a piece of the old East Lake campus to the current campus.

Editor's note: This is one in a recurring series on "hidden gems" on the Samford University campus.

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