Photos by Cheryl Landes
In 1973, San Antonio, Texas, claimed the world’s tallest barber pole at 40 feet. But when Chuck Olson saw it during a barbershop music convention, he knew he could make a bigger one in Oregon.
After all, Oregon is famous for its tall trees.
The timing was perfect, because a group in Portland was planning a barbershop quartet competition. So, when Olson returned home, a local lumber company gave him an 80-foot pole, and a team of volunteers began painting it to look like a pole from a barbershop.
After they finished, they placed a large styrofoam ball on top and erected the pole at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum, where the barbershop quartet competition was held. The pole’s finished height was 72 feet, which qualified for a Guinness World Record certificate.
After the competition ended, the pole didn’t have a permanent home. Olson found one in Forest Grove, “The Ballad City”. A utility company in Forest Grove and a volunteer trucker helped him move the pole.
When the pole was repainted with the help of the Forest Grove Fire Department, the crew replaced the styrofoam ball with a glass ball.
The pole is located on the west side of Hanson Stadium at Pacific University, just south of the intersection of 26th Avenue and Main Street near Lincoln Park.
Forest Grove is 25 miles west of Portland.