Kenny McAdams stands next to the light/flag pole he made out of a cast iron pole taken from the Walnut Inn in Tarkio. The pole can be seen at Kenny’s residence on Hwy. 136 between Tarkio and Rock Port.
The Walnut Inn was a historical fixture in Tarkio for over 100 years and seeing it deteriorate and then torn down was heartbreaking. However, parts of the building were passed down to locals who planned to see that the iconic building can live on piece by piece.
For Kenny McAdams of rural Tarkio, two cast iron poles and one of Edna O’Dell’s murals were his treasures. The poles, stamped “John Seaton, Atchison, Kansas,” were found hidden inside the walls of the Walnut Inn on both sides of the swinging door to the kitchen. The poles weigh so much that only heavy machinery can lift them. The poles were taken to his house, where he got right to work.
Kenny cleaned up one of the poles and painted it. He dug a hole on the east side of his yard and used 13 60-pound bags of cement as a base, installed wiring, and then with the help of Kelly Daugherty, the pole was put in place as a new light and flag pole. Kenny is making a light fixture for the top of the pole, and his brother, John McAdams, added a spotlight to the bottom of the pole to shine a light on the flag, which with metal rings can slide around the pole to wave with the wind in any direction.
It is quite a sight to see, especially considering that this pole is at least 100 years old, standing tall next to a house that is also at least 100 years old, having formerly been the Central Rural Schoolhouse. Kenny’s parents bought the place in the late fifties and remodeled the schoolhouse to make it a home.
The Walnut Inn will continue to live on for years to come with this piece, as well as with the water tower mural that Kenny plans to make a frame for and display.