Liberty Pole celebration on the Square

Every four years when the U.S. Presidential election heats up, all that political energy awakens old memories of elections past in Richland County.

There was a time when wildly enthusiastic partisans here used to demonstrate the passion they felt for their candidates by engaging in a very old American patriotic tradition: raising a Liberty Pole.

Raising the Liberty Pole
Defense of the Liberty Pole
Civil War era Liberty Pole

Civil War era patriotic demonstrations often included the raising of a Liberty Pole, in both the North and the South.

Hard Cider campaign 1840

From the National Whig Almanac, No. 1.  Hard Cider is clearly the principal feature of this graphic cover.

A Hard Cider affair
Liberty Pole on the Mansfield Square

Composite image of a Mansfield pole raising including characters from the paintings of George Caleb Bingham (1811-1879).

Headlines 1900
Historic site map: Liberty Pole
Flagpole today in the Mansfield Square

To help you imagine how a Liberty Pole might have looked in the 1800s in the Mansfield Square, consider this: the flag pole we see there today is roughly 50-60 feet tall, and the tallest Liberty Pole on record in the Square was 111 feet.

Timothy Brian McKee is a featured columnist on our site every Saturday with a column titled Native SonEvery Tuesday, he taps into his knowledge and collection of historical photos and bring us Then & Now, a brief glance at the way things were.