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    -  -  -  -  -      The Liberty Bowl Flag      -  -  -  -  -   

 

While driving by the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium this weekend,
I noticed that the Flag was not "on" and by agreement from 1977, it should be.
Below is "my history" of the Flag:

*** Update 10/01/14: On nightly drives by the Liberty Bowl now in 2014, it is nice to see the proud flag aglow in lights! ***

  The Commercial Appeal moved into the building on the southeast corner of Second Street and Court Avenue in 1907. By 1911, the CA had installed a 14’ X 12’ metal flag on the roof of the building [Flag1]. When The Commercial Appeal relocated to 495 Union in the 1930s to the old Ford Motor Plant, it also relocated the flag to the roof of that building.

When Memphis Publishing Company moved The Commercial Appeal and the Memphis Press-Scimitar into the current building in 1977 and tore down the old building, the flag was donated to the Memphis Park Commission to be placed on the roof of the Press Box at the stadium (only west side at that time), which had been renamed from Memphis Memorial Stadium to Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in 1975 or 1976 (but that is another story). Memphis Publishing Company placed two conditions on the donation:

1) the City would provide all utilities, structural and preventive maintenance for the flag,
2) the flag will be lighted every night of the year.

*One time in 1984 when I was Deputy Director of the Memphis Park Commission, I received a late night call from a representative at Memphis Publishing informing me that the flag was not lighted. When I had stadium management check it out the next day, it was not lighted due a tripped breaker. All was well by that evening.

  Most people that drive by the stadium at night and see the lighted flag or most people that attend the games do not realize the “journey” of the flag – three buildings and three roofs in over 100 years! The people that I tell this unusual story to during my “Memphis” talks do not realize its entire origin either, and are pleasantly surprised.

  At last year’s Liberty Bowl game, I took the opportunity from “spotting tackles on the stat crew” to venture up (pre-game) to the flag via the fourth floor for pictures and measurements. It is an easy and safe access. Here are some more amazing facts:

- The flag is two pieces of sheet metal welded together, cut and shaped in a furl at the bottom right hand corner.
- The flag is approximately (H)14’3” X (W)12’2”
- The flag as 277 light bulbs – Red (112), White (120) and Blue (45).
- The red and white stripes are between 8” and 9” wide
- The lights bulbs are TCP #8A03RD, Model #CCDC03, 120 volts
- The platform is 9’10” high and 34” wide with a safety rail

  Here is the best stat: There are only 45 stars in the blue field, as the flag is a pre-1907 model, and the USA only had 45
states in the Union then (Hawaii-1959, Alaska-1959, Arizona-1912, New Mexico-1912 and Oklahoma-1907).

  So, the flag that flies high over our Liberty Bowl (@ 18 stories) and high over our city for the past 100 years has only 45 stars. I bet you not too many people realize that fact! Also, how many things in our public sector are over one hundred years old, with moving parts, with electricity and are still working?

 

 

 

 

Next “Detour”:
I AM A MAN

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