The Summer Olympics wrapped up recently in London, England, with the United States winning a plethora of gold medals. What some folks may not know is that a small piece of Olympic history lives in Marceline, right outside of Walt Disney Elementary.
This “small” piece of the Olympic Games is a large flagpole from the 1960 Winter Olympics, held in Snow Valley, California. The pole was a gift from Walt Disney to the newly-christened Elementary School named in his honor.
Disney was the Chairman of Pageantry at the Eighth Winter Olympiad, which took place on February 18-28, 1960. The planning of this monument-sized gift was in place long before the Olympics had even taken place.
From a letter that Disney wrote to Marceline Superintendent Edward Sage dated January 11, 1960: “When Mr. and Mrs. Payden were out here last September, I mentioned to them that I wanted to present to the Walt Disney School a flagpole from the VIII Winter Olympics.”
According to Disney, the poles came in three different lengths: 44, 49, and 55 feet. Disney continued: “I had planned to purchase a 55-foot pole from the Olympics Committee but before doing so, I thought I should ask you if there is any reason why you might prefer one of the shorter ones.”