Missouri’s state flag is 100 years old today, and the first state flag to fly over a Missouri Capitol is on display for a few days in Cape Girardeau. That’s the home town of the designer of the flag, Marie Watkins Oliver. The flag is on display at her restored home.
Gary Kremer, Executive Director of the State Historical Society of Missouri, says it’s likely one of the original flags she might have made. He says it is hard to believe someone else made the flag, he says, although specific documentation on this particular flag is lacking.
“This is the one that was run up the flag pole at the temporary Capitol” 100 years ago today, he says.
Kremer says the flag was part of the Progressive Era in politics, a time when there was a lot of government activism and “the assertion of government in the effort to create a better society.” Several other states created state flags during the same era.
Missouri’s capitol had burned in 1911. Lawmakers and state officers met in a temporary capitol for several years while the present capitol was being built.
The flag normally is housed at the home of former Congressman Champ Clark in Bowling Green. He was the Speaker of the U. S. House when the design became the official symbol of Missouri. It will be returned there in a few days.