TRINIDAD — Many of Trinidad’s historic downtown buildings have been around so long that people tend to pass them by without a thought, never imagining they contain intriguing surprises left from the age when the city was first founded. That’s the case with a flagpole base that was found recently in the bottom of the elevator shaft at First National Bank of Trinidad.
A contractor was recently working on renovations to the elevator when the flagpole base was discovered. At first, it looked like something that might have come from an old ship, but a closer look and some knowledge of the bank building’s history showed that it held up the flagpole on the bank’s exterior, at the corner of Main and Commercial streets.
The flagpole base is now back in the public eye in the lobby of the bank, where it’s on display. Hand-forged and held together with iron rivets, the base weighs 250 pounds and measures 38 inches tall. It supported a pole that was eight inches in diameter and 30 feet tall, from which the flag flew for many years by the twin-arched windows on the fifth floor. A support bracket mounted just below the lofty corner precipice of the building helped stabilize the pole.
The bank opened for business April 16, 1875, and relocated to its present location at 100 E. Main St. in 1892. The renowned architectural firm of Bulger and Rapp designed the five-story sandstone structure. It featured ornate carvings, a brass doorway, marble floors, and the flagpole.
The precipice suffered much wear and tear through Trinidad’s early years, and was removed, along with the flagpole and its base, in 1950.