"Old Ironsides" Spar Once Again Topeka High Flagpole

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ For the third time in 77 years, a nautical castoff has found new life as the Topeka High School flagpole.

This week, a crane hoisted into place a spar from the USS Constitution, known as "Old Ironsides.''

School alumni included Charles Curtis, vice president from 1929 to 1933, and he helped bring a spar to the school when the present building was under construction.

But by 2003, age had taken its toll and the spar had to be removed.

A new spar, installed in 2004, was hit by lightning.

Soon after, efforts began to get another spar. The USS Constitution has donated each spar but the school district paid more than $21,000 to ship the spar to Topeka and get it installed.

And the new one has a lightning rod.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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