PHOTOGRAPHER’S JOURNAL: Yesterday's flagpole image was composed on a melancholy walk around the empty campus of American Brass / Anaconda. The empty flagpole begs numerous questions at what they say was once the largest, busiest brass manufacturing plant in the world, a place where the American Dream was designed, assembled, and tested.
Until I walked up Liberty Street, I never realized the company had a flagpole, though I’ve long been aware of the immense part this factory and the Valley played during both world wars. In the four years I photographed here I don’t think I ever saw a flag flying; the administration had already moved out, so the flagpole was positioned facing a locked gate.
Of course the men carrying out the final shut-down of the brass mill remember when the flag was raised and lowered daily, and they can name the men who did it, but even they have no knowledge of this mysterious memorial in the long-closed rod mill. Who placed the flag and when? - here in a west-facing window of one of the great basilicas of Brass Valley. What special resonances does it gather here? What is the music playing?