Almost Yesterday: Missouri Gets a State Flag

Mar 19, 2019

It seems like Almost Yesterday that the State of Missouri acquired a state flag. The date was March 22, 1913, and this was part of a movement motivated by the development of aluminum flag poles, the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and the admission of three new states: Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona, all occurring in the early twentieth century. 

Only a few states had an official flag prior to 1900 but with the availability of sturdy aluminum flag poles, states could hoist their banners high -- in a period of great national pride and rapid growth.

Ohio, New Jersey, Connecticut, Alabama, Colorado and Tennessee adopted state flags between 1895 and 1911. Many of the campaigns to adopt official state flags were led by the Daughters of the Amerian Revolution and The Colonial Dames.

Such was the case in Missouri. Marie Watkins Oliver of Cape Girardeau was the State Regent of the Missouri DAR Chapter and in 1908 she discovered that Missouri did not have an official state flag.

At her home at 740 North Street in Cape Girardeau she examined existing state flags, studied flags in general (The Science of Vexillology) and designed a flag. Miss Mary Kochtitsky, a young art instructor at the Cape Girardeau Normal School painted the flag.

It was a four year process, but on January 21, 1913, Charles C. Oliver of Cape Girardeau County, a member of the Missouri legislature, introduced the "Oliver Flag Bill" and on March 22, 1913, the flag that had been designed and made by Marie Watkins Oliver in the house at 740 North Street in Cape Girardeau became the official flag of the State of Missouri.

It seems like Almost Yesterday. This is Frank Nickell.