The Flagpole on Mt. Ogden Peak

by Edie George

 

The year 1922 was significant in the history of Weber. It marked the end of the high school curriculum and ushered in the beginning of a new era as Weber College.

Ambitious student body officers Llewelyn McKay, Lawrence Budge, and David Kennedy were joined by the first college class president, Willard Marriott, in establishing a tradition to mark the occasion.

In choosing a symbol of the dreams and aspirations of the infant college, they settled on the loftiest goal in sight, Mt. Ogden, and proceeded with plans to place a flagpole on its peak. The 1923 Acorn describes the events eloquently. On October 5th at 4:00 a.m., the frontal assault on the distant peak began. A twenty-foot flagpole, cast in four sections and weighing over 300 pounds, was carried to the top after pack horses refused the burden.

Each class had an assignment, and even the faculty and administration participated. Water, gravel and cement were laboriously carried to the peak. After the pole was joined and cemented into place, a glass jar containing the names of all participants was buried at its base.

The flag was unfurled to the breeze, accompanied by the school ensign of Purple and White. Following the singing of the national anthem and the school song, a dedicatory prayer was offered by David O. McKay, who was at that time an apostle in the L.D.S. Church. He had offered to attend as an incentive to help make the affair a success. Nearly four-hundred hikers made the demanding trek that day.

For years the flagpole stood as a symbol of great aspirations. A hundred stories were told and retold over the years, and a great tradition was born. Annual hikes to the peak gradually gave way to a less arduous hike to Malan s Peak, and a new tradition grew out of the old the Flaming W Hike.

The elements took their toll on the pulleys and lanyards on the pole, and vandals eventually removed the top section, but to many an upturned eye from the valley below it recalled the events and times of a bygone day.

Then in recent years came a request for a school district TV transmitting site just below the peak. Following investigation by the forestry office, it was discovered that a flagpole had been erected on Mt. Ogden without an official permit! Rangers were quickly dispatched to the scene to remove the offending protuberance.

And so after standing for nearly forty-four years, the flagpole was uprooted and flung ungloriously to the rocks below Mt. Ogden s peak. Thus ended a tradition, but its memory lives on.