45-star flag being preserved for display in Pine River

Flag could date as far back as 1896

052621.PEJ.AntiqueFlag (1).JPG
Mildred (Bunny) Siltman uses her quilting experience to pin an over 100 year old flag to backing material as Betty McAllister, Pat Johnson and Annette Houg help prepare to preserve it for display. Travis Grimler / Echo Journal

Heritage Group North in Pine River is working to preserve a 45-star U.S. flag for display following a donation from residents Henry and Bev Kramp.

The Kramps found the antique flag in the attic of their home on Kinler Avenue in 1995 and recently thought to donate it for display. This flag design would have been accurate from 1896 to 1908. Though Utah had joined the United States in 1895, the flag itself wasn't dedicated until July 4, 1896.

Upon having it inspected, Pat Johnson, of HGN, said the flag appears to be authentic from that time period and is made of linen.

052621.PEJ.AntiqueFlag (2).JPG
At the Pine River Depot Betty McAllister stands on a chair to check the layout of a 45 star flag as Mildred (Bunny) Siltman, Pat Johnson and Annette Houg gently smooth and move the flag around on its backing material. Travis Grimler / Echo Journal


At first, Johnson thought it might have been a flag once draped over a coffin; however, wear on one end is consistent with that found on flags that have been flapping in the wind. That damage, along with the possible limits of manufacturing 100 years ago and the likely change in the material's dimensions, made it difficult to decide how to display it.

On Monday, May 24, Johnson, Betty McAllister, Mildred (Bunny) Siltman and Annette Houg met to sew the flag to a backing made of archival approved fabric stretched on a frame, built by Henry's Woodworking. A frame with UV protective glass (paid for by the Pine River American Legion) will then be installed and the flag will be hung inside the historic Pine River Depot.

Johnson hopes to have the flag dedicated officially on July 4.

Johnson said there isn't any real way to determine where the flag would have hung, though a similar flag likely flew at the post office and some photos show a similar size flag flying in a park in the middle of Barclay Avenue in Pine River.

Heritage Group North welcomes any clues to where this flag may have hung in Pine River.

Travis Grimler is a staff writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper in Pequot Lakes/Pine River. He may be reached at 218-855-5853 or

Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
What To Read Next
Get Local