Question: It’s Wayback Wednesday. Do we have any Bowdoin historians out there? Who knows what’s happening at the Chapel in this old photo?
Answer: This photo from the George J. Mitchell Department of Collections & Special Archives, titled “Flagpole Incident,” was taken in 1930 and shows a flagpole extending out the front door of the Chapel.
According to Patricia McGraw Anderson’s The Architecture of Bowdoin College, a flagpole was to be erected as a World World I memorial at a location described as “where lines from Hubbard Hall and the Walker Art Building would intersect in the quadrangle.” But, one Saturday evening, before the flagpole was erected, students moved it into the Chapel in protest of the planned location for the memorial. An ensuing debate-and win by the students-resulted in the flagpole being moved to its current location between the Walker Art Building and Gibson Hall.
A more extensive account of this memorial and flagpole incident-including a little piece of history that remains in the Chapel today-is offered by John Cross’76 in his Whispering Pines column, Night of the Great Revolution.