History of the Hampshire College flagpole dates back to before the college was built

The flagpole at the center of the college was at the center of the controversy

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – Politics, protests, and patriotism. A story rooted 50 years ago on a farm. In 1966, Andrew Weneczek was approached to sell his sprawling 60-acres along Bay Road on the Hadley/Amherst line; land he loved.

Brick by brick, the foundation of Hampshire College was built. “I never had a chance to get an education, I figured if I could help some kids along with it, I’d be glad to do it,” said Andrew

Andrew sold the land on the condition his wife could live here, and at 94 years old, she still does. Just feet away from the facilities building, where the removed flag was stored.

(What did the flag mean to your husband?) Stephanie Weneczek said, “Everything. Everything. I can’t put it into words what it meant to him.”

Continuing Coverage: Hampshire College Flag

Andrew worked at the college before his death in 1977. Hampshire College lowered the flag to half-staff for one week, and then days later, dedicated the flagpole in his memory.

Karen Weneczek, Andrew’s daughter said, “They really think a lot of my father, and I have two albums inside to prove it.” 22News flipped through articles and pictures that told the Weneczek story.

Karen has been a Hampshire College employee under President Johnathan Lash for the last 41 years.

(What would you say to him?) Karen said, “I would say, why? Why burn the flag? What is the point? It didn’t do anything to them.”

“It’s meant to be his flagpole and that meant everything to him and it hurts me and I imagine it’s hurting him. He is looking down on it and he knows what is going on,” said Stephanie.

The college decided to put the flag back up Friday morning but veterans are still planning to gather on Sunday to celebrate the red, white and blue.