WATERVILLE — Workers using a crane Tuesday morning removed a 100-year-old, 40-foot-long cedar flagpole from the roof of City Hall, as well as 4,000 deteriorating bricks from the upper part of the building’s chimney.

The work was done as part of the preparation for replacing City Hall’s roof next year, according to City Manager Michael Roy.

Employees of D.H. Pinnette & Sons Inc. Maine Roofing Service, as well as those from the city’s Public Works Department, arrived about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday at the east end of City Hall off Front Street to start the work.

Masons previously had removed the bricks from the top few feet of the 70-foot-tall chimney on the back side of City Hall.

“They’re getting the bricks off the roof before the snow comes,” said Dave Higgins, building custodian at City Hall, who watched the work.

At 8:10 a.m., workers raised a steel scale pan attached to the crane up to the roof, placed bricks in it and lowered it to a dumpster in the parking lot of City Hall, which was built in 1902.

After repeating that operation, they placed a double cinch line around the 200-pound flagpole, which had a round copper-colored ball on top.

City Engineer Greg Brown said later that the pole was removed because it was leaking and it is no longer safe to have employees go up on the roof of City Hall to raise and lower the flag.

“It’s an historic moment to see that flagpole come down, no question, but because of safety reasons, it had to come down,” Brown said.

The city now uses a flagpole in Castonguay Square in front of City Hall.

Brown said it was unnecessary to have the chimney as tall as it was, since the building no longer burns coal. The bricks on the top few feet of the chimney were loose and the city would have had to pay two or three times as much to repair the brickwork as to take it down, according to Brown.

At 8:47 a.m. Tuesday, the roar of a chain saw could be heard as workers on the City Hall roof cut off the 10-inch base of the flagpole and lowered the pole to the ground. Public works employee Mike Folsom used a chain saw to cut the top off the pole.

“I think it’s as old as the building,” Folsom said of the pole and ornament.

Jonathon Field, commercial estimator for Pinnette, said, “Pretty good testament to the durability of cedar.”

Field said the city asked Pinnette, of Oakland, to remove the bricks, and Brown asked if the company could do the flagpole removal at the same time.

“He said, ‘That flagpole’s got to come down. Could you guys handle it?’ And we said, ‘Sure,'” Field recalled.

Meanwhile, Brown said he expects the city to go out to bid for the roof replacement work in a couple of weeks, but the work will not be done until next spring.

He said he did not have the final bill for the brick and pole work, but he estimated it would be $1,500 to $2,000.

Pinnette and city workers did an excellent job, completing the job in just a half day, Brown said.

“They were in and out ahead of schedule and under budget,” he said.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17


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