The 1995 Pole Marker

1995 Pole marker
The 1995 Pole marker, created by Dave Vella during the 1994-95 summer

Dave did winter in 1995...but at Palmer. As he did in 1996. But he was at Pole in 1994-95, and here he is crafting this marker in the heavy shop. First...a few photos:

Dave hard at work at the lathe


Here's Dave hard at work on that Pole marker.
Dave and the work-in-progress


Dave doing in-process inspection.
a view of the work in progress
Here it is a bit earlier in the process.
Gary Freeman looking at the marker
Herm (aka Gary Freeman) examining the work.

There's nothing unusual about the Pole marker being created in the summer it gets installed...that's how things were done in the old days. Some of the earliest markers were created in the US and brought down for the occasion...including the very first one as well as this one I remember well.

What is unusual is the presence of names on the marker. Dave told me that Elizabeth Felton was a high school student who came to Pole after winning a NASA/USGS contest. She did a "Live from Antarctica" broadcast in which she actually got to place the marker.

The other two women mentioned on the marker are USGS folks who came down to do the official survey of where to put the marker--Barbara S. Littell and Cheryl A. Hallam. And the story continues...Dave told me that Barbara, the leader of the USGS team, created the design for the marker...but, perhaps suffering ill affects from the altitude at Pole after her arrival, she spelled her own name wrong. A good laugh was had by all, and Dave resurfaced that portion of the marker and redid the names.

Because some of the previous markers had been created in the US (or...horrors...in McMurdo!) Dave inscribed the rim with "Handcrafted at South Pole with pride by Dave Vella," which is partially visible in the photo. Dave confirmed that the iconic "LGN" is also there.

Credits and thanks...the photo of the marker at the top of this page is by 2004 station manager Pete Koson and is from the Antarctic Photo Library...the rest of the photos are from Erik Roseman who was there that summer...and of course some of the information came from Dave Vella.