Rain, winds, age, previous damage — whatever the cause, the University lost its decades-old flagpole on the College Green.

PROVIDENCE, R.I., [Brown University] — The College Green was different Thursday morning.

A storm with strong winds and rain had knocked down the decades-old flagpole between the John Carter Brown Library and Rhode Island Hall late Wednesday afternoon. It ended up leaning against a nearby tree.

The incident was reported to the Department of Public Safety, which closed part of George Street so the Department of Facilities Management could lay the flagpole on the ground, removing a threat to public safety.

A combination of weather and time had damaged the pole near its base. Officials couldn’t say for sure that it was the wind alone that knocked it down.

There were no other storm-related incidents reported on campus.

It might be a while before the original pole returns. “At a minimum, we are going to place a temporary pole for Veteran’s Day, and we don’t know if we can fix the existing pole,” said Stephen Maiorisi, vice president for facilities management.

Originally part of an American racing yacht, the pole was presented to the University by C. Oliver Iselin in 1918. The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association later placed the pole on a base in honor of Samuel Gridley Howe, the surgeon-in-chief of the Greek fleet during the Greek War of Independence between 1820 and 1829.

The bronze plaque reads: “Samuel Gridley Howe, 1801-1876, whose service as surgeon-in-chief to the fleet in the Greek War of Independence and whose friendship for the Greek people have given him a place of honor in their memory.”