Iconic Seattle monument to Black history reinstalled Tuesday after year-long restoration

An iconic Seattle monument returns after a year-long restoration, with the reinstallation of the Soul Pole outside the Douglass-Truth library branch set for Tuesday afternoon.

The 21-foot-tall wooden pole has stood since 1973 on the lawn outside the Douglass-Truth branch on 23rd and Yesler, with its design carved in the late 1960s by a group of six artists from the Seattle Rotary Boys Club to “represent 400 years of African American history.”

“From bottom up, there’s a description of African ancestors, to mid-pole, where there are like chains, wrapped around this ancestor and then moving to the top of the pole, the chains are broken,” Seattle Public Library spokesperson Elisa Murray described to KIRO Newsradio historian Feliks Banel.

After nearly 50 years of weathering the elements, the city temporarily took down the Soul Pole last April to “repair, stabilize, and protect the sculpture.”

“Once the work is done, visitors will notice almost no difference in the Soul Pole, but it will be prepared to withstand several more decades of exposure to Seattle weather,” Seattle Public Libraries described. “The one visible alteration will be a zinc cap placed on top of the Soul Pole to protect it from water intrusion.”

The pole’s reinstallation will be marked with a formal ceremony on Tuesday at 2:30 p.m., led by Mayor Bruce Harrell, Seattle Chief Librarian Tom Fay, and Washington Black Heritage Society President Stephanie Johnson-Toliver.

This story was originally posted at MyNorthwest.com.