Flag Pole Sitting

Alvin "Shipwreck" Kelly sitting on flagpole during the heyday of the flagpole sitting craze in 1920's and 1930's.

Most people are scared of heights and can’t imagine, what it would be like to sit atop a flagpole for many days.

Alvin “Shipwreck” Kelly was regarded as the king of the flagpole sitters. Kelly was a stunt actor who first became known as a flagpole sitter in 1924.

His first stint atop a flagpole was when he sat on the pole for 13 hours and 13 minutes. After his record had been broken several times he set a new record by sitting for 49 days.

One year later Bill Penfield set a new record of 51 days, which was shortened by a thunderstorm.

H. David Werder sat on a flagpole for 439 days, which almost certainly is still the record today. He was protesting the high price of gasoline in 1980.

There is even more reason today to protest high gasoline prices but doubt anyone will resort to flagpole sitting as part of their protest.

I can’t imagine anything less fun than sitting on a platform attached to a flag pole for 449 days. Even with breaks it still had to be very uncomfortable.


Author: Andrew Godfrey

Retired from newspaper work after 38 years. Had served in the Army in Hawaii and Vietnam in the 60's. Am now retired and living in Sulphur, Louisiana.

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