Peace pole burns at Wadena’s wellness center

Officials believe it was unintentionally set ablaze.

The remains of a Peace Pole sit in a melted pile in front of the Maslowski Wellness and Research Center Tuesday, June 8, 2021. Michael Johnson/Pioneer Journal

A Peace Pole at Wadena’s wellness center was destroyed by a fire Friday, June 4.

All that remains of the pole is a melted base of the white monument within the tranquility garden on site. Wadena Fire Department responded and put the fire out at about 6:21 p.m. that night, according to the Wadena County Sheriff's calls for service blotter.

It's believed that the the fire started by someone leaving a cigarette butt at the site, according to wellness manager Eric Robb. Robb said they are lucky that more damage wasn’t done as the pole sits just feet from the building.

Wadena Chief of Police Naomi Plautz said the incident is under investigation. She believes at this time that the fire was not intentional, however, video footage is being reviewed to identify the individual involved. More information may be available once the investigation is complete.

The pole was installed near the entrance of the Maslowski Wellness and Research Center in 2015 as a donation from the Wadena Rotary Club. Robb said he is working with the Wadena Rotary Club to replace the monument.


RELATED: Wadena Rotarians install tranquility garden at wellness center
A Peace Pole is a hand-crafted monument that displays the message and prayer “May Peace Prevail on Earth” on each of its four or six sides, usually in different languages, according to the Rotary International website. This particular pole was installed and donated through a Wadena Rotary project to create and maintain an area at the wellness center that would create a peaceful area for reflection, outdoor enjoyment and peaceful gathering to help further the mission of the facility.

There are tens of thousands of Peace Poles in 180 countries all over the world dedicated as monuments to peace, according to Rotary International.

Wadena Rotary Club Tranquility Garden
Wadena Rotary Club members helped install a tranquility garden outside the Maslowski Wellness and Research Center Friday morning. From left are Chris Youngbauer, owner of Youngbauer Landscaping, Maslowski director Eric Robb, and Rotarians Malcolm Whynott, Kent Schmidt, Allen Refsland, Nate Loer, Grace Schertler and Terry Olson.
File photo

Michael Johnson is the news editor for Agweek. He lives in the city of Verndale, Minn., but is bent on making it as country as he can until he returns once more to the farm living he enjoys. Also living the dream are his two children and wife.
You can reach Michael at or 218-640-2312.
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