Stars on the Square


13 STAR FLAG

THIRTEEN STAR U.S. FLAG

May 1776

On June 14, 1777, the 2nd Continental Congress passed the Flag Resolution making this the official flag of the United States. Sometimes referred to as the Betsy Ross flag, historians actually believe that Francis Hopkinson, a congressman from New Jersey and a signer of the Declaration of Independence, designing the flag.

This original flag, has 13 stripes and 13 stars to represent each of the original 13 colonies.


STAR SPANGLED BANNER – 15 STAR FLAG

1795 – 1818

On May 1, 1795, the Flag Act went into effect and the Star-Spangled Banner Flag, composed of 15 stars and 15 stripes become the new official flag of the United States.
The additional stars and stripes were added to represent the additional of Vermont (March 4, 1791) and Kentucky (June 1, 1792) to the Union.

The 15-star flag would last for 23 years and five presidents would serve under it. This flag inspired Francis Scott Key to write “The Star Spangled Banner” our nation anthem, after he saw it continue to fly over Fort McHenry following a British Bombardment during the War of 1812.

15 STAR FLAG

20 STAR FLAG

20 STAR FLAG

1818 – 1819

With the westward expansion of the United States, Congress realized that adding stripes to the flag would be impractical. The Flag Act of April 4, 1818, provided a constant 13 stripes on all future American flags and one star for each state. The act also stated that future flags would be officially modified on July 4 of the year following the admission of each new state.

This flag added five stars for the admission of Tennessee (June 1, 1796), Ohio (March 1, 1803), Louisiana (April 30, 1812), Indiana (December 11, 1816) and Mississippi (December 10, 1817).

It was the first of nine flags to last only about a year.


21 STAR FLAG

1819 – 1820

Just over a year after the 20-Star Flag was introduced, Illinois joined the Union on December 3, 1818. The 21 Star Flag become the official United States Flag on July 4, 1819.

21 STAR FLAG

23 STAR FLAG

23 STAR FLAG

1820 – 1822

The 23 Star Flag become the official United States Flag on July 4, 1820. Two stars were added for the admission of Alabama (December 14, 1819) and Maine (March 15, 1820).
President James Monroe was the only president to serve under this flag as well as the previous two flags.


24 STAR FLAG

1822 – 1836

The 24 Star Flag become the official United States Flag on July 4, 1822.  A star was added for the admission of Missouri on August 10, 1821.

Missouri, a slave state, was admitted as part of the Missouri Compromise, which sought to achieve a balance between free and slave states.  The compromise included the admission of Maine, a free state, which had separated from Massachusetts and become a state in 1820.

24 STAR FLAG

25 STAR FLAG

25 STAR FLAG

1836 – 1837

The 25 Star Flag become the official United States Flag on July 4, 1836.  A star was added for the state of Arkansas which was admitted to the Union on June 15, 1836.

Arkansas was part of the Louisiana Purchase and carved out of what became the Missouri Territory to become its own territory.


26 STAR FLAG

1837 – 1845

The 26 Star Flag become the official United States Flag on July 4, 1837.  A star was added for Michigan which became a state on January 26, 1837.

Michigan was admitted to the Union as a free state to help maintain the balance between slave and free states.  Michigan’s admission has been previously thwarted because of a border dispute with Ohio, but President Andrew Jackson helped Michigan save face by awarding it land from the Upper Peninsula, and then granted it statehood, boosting the number of states to 26.

26 STAR FLAG

27 STAR FLAG

27 STAR FLAG

1845 – 1846

The 27 Star Flag become the official United States Flag on July 4, 1845.  A star was added for Florida which became a state on March 3, 1845.

Florida, a former possession of the Spanish empire, was admitted to the Union in 1845.  It would not remain in the Union for long.  Florida would secede in 1861.


28 STAR FLAG

1846 – 1847

The 28 Star Flag become the official United States Flag on July 4, 1846. 

A star was added when Texas was admitted to the United States on December 29, 1845.

Before becoming the 28th state, Texas was an independent republic.  It is the biggest state in land mass in the contiguous 48 states.

28 STAR FLAG

29 STAR FLAG

29 STAR FLAG

1847 – 1848

The 29 Star Flag become the official United States Flag on July 4, 1847.  A star was added for Iowa, which became a state on December 28, 1846. Originally part of the Louisiana Purchase, Iowa was established as a U.S. territory in 1838 and grew dramatically because of its rich farmland.


30 STAR FLAG

1848 – 1851

The 30 Star Flag become the official United States Flag on July 4, 1848.  A star was added for Wisconsin, which became a state on May 29, 1848.

Not all residents of Wisconsin were enthusiastic about joining the Union as a state.  They had rejected it four times previously because they were concerned statehood would mean higher taxes.

30 STAR FLAG

31 STAR FLAG

31 STAR FLAG

1851 – 1858

The 31 Star Flag became the official United States Flag on July 4, 1851.  A star was added for the state of California, which was admitted to the United States on September 9, 1850.

The Gold Rush that began with the discovery of the precious metal in 1848 helped fast track California to statehood in 1850.  The admission of California fulfilled America’s manifest destiny of a nation extending from sea to sea.


32 STAR FLAG

1858 – 1859

The 32 Star Flag became the official United States Flag on July 4, 1858.  A star was added for the state of Minnesota, which was admitted to the United States on May 11, 1858.

32 STAR FLAG

33 STAR FLAG

33 STAR FLAG

1859 – 1861

The 33 Star Flag became the official United States Flag on July 4, 1859.  A star was added for the state of Oregon, which was admitted to the United States on February 14, 1859.

America’s expansion surged to the Northwest with the admission of Oregon.  Oregon was admitted as a free state, though its first two Senators, Joseph Lane and Delazon Smith, were proslavery Democrats.


34 STAR FLAG

1861 – 1863

The 34 Star Flag, also known as the Civil War Union Flag, became the official flag on July 4, 1861 to represent the additional of the state of Kansas on January 29, 1861.

Voter fraud over whether state would be admitted as a slave state or a free state delayed Kansas’ admission to the Union.  Kansas joined as a free state just as the southern states were seceding. 

This flag was flown by the armies of the North during the first half of the Civil War.  The flag represented all the states, even those that were attempting to secede.

34 STAR FLAG

35 STAR FLAG

35 STAR FLAG

1863 – 1865

The 35 Star Flag became the official United States Flag on July 4, 1863.  A star was added for the state of West Virginia, which separated from Virginia (a Confederate state) on June 20, 1863 in order to rejoin the Union. 

The onset of the Civil War did not halt the admission of states to the Union. The western part of Virginia was pro-Union and contained many abolitionists. It split from the rest of the state, which had seceded. President Abraham Lincoln was unsure about dividing Virginia and admitting the western portion as a separate state. He agreed to its admission on the grounds that West Virginia’s action was an act of secession in favor of the Constitution. 


36 STAR FLAG

1865 – 1867

The 36 Star Flag became the official flag on July 4, 1865.  A star was added for the Nevada which became a state on October 31, 1864.

The Civil War was engulfing the nation when Nevada was admitted as the 36th state.  Nevada was pro-Union and President Lincoln saw it’s admission as a way to buttress support for the war.  To speed up statehood, Nevada sent its entire state constitution to Washington, DC, all 175 pages, by telegram.

36 STAR FLAG

37 STAR FLAG

37 STAR FLAG

1867 – 1877

The 37 Star Flag became the official flag of the United States on July 4, 1867.  A star was added for Nebraska, which became a state on March 1, 1867.

Nebraska was the first state to be admitted to the Union after the Civil War.  Rapid economic development, accelerated by the growth of railroads, helped speed Nebraska’s admission.


38 STAR FLAG

1877 – 1890

The 38 Star Flag became the official United States Flag on July 4, 1877.  A star was added for the state of Colorado, which joined the Union on August 1, 1876.

Colorado was a territory that partially came with the Louisiana Purchase.  It’s admission to the Union had been vetoed by President Andrew Johnson, but President Ulysses S. Grant approved it.  The 38 Star Flag would fly for 13 years.

38 STAR FLAG

43 STAR FLAG

43 STAR FLAG

1890 – 1891

The 43 Star Flag became the official American flag on July 4, 1890.  Five stars were added for the admission of North Dakota (November 2, 1889), South Dakota (November 2, 1889), Montana (November 8, 1889), Washington (November 11, 1889), and Idaho (July 3, 1890).

A flurry of state admissions boosted the star total as statehood filled out the United States in the high plains and far west. 


44 STAR FLAG

1891 – 1896

The 44 Star Flag became the official United States Flag on July 4, 1891.  A star was added for the state of Wyoming, which joined the Union on July 10, 1890, even though it was 5,000 people short of the 60,000 person requirement to become a state.

44 STAR FLAG

45 STAR FLAG

45 STAR FLAG

1896 – 1908

The 45 Star Flag became the official United States Flag on July 4, 1896.  A star was added for the state of Utah, which was admitted to the United States on January 4, 1986.

The area that would become Utah had been part of the United States since the nation received the territory as part of a treaty that ended the Mexican-American War in 1848. Mormons settled in the area, and their practice of polygamy prevented Utah from becoming a state until Mormons renounced polygamy in the state constitution.


46 STAR FLAG

1908 – 1912

The 46 Star Flag became the official flag of the United States on July 4, 1908.  A star was added for Oklahoma, which became a state on November 16, 1907.

Oklahoma became the first state to be admitted to the Union in the 20th century.  The United States had used the Oklahoma territory to resettle Native American people, but by the late 19th century, Texas ranchers began moving northward and the federal government decided to open up the territory for homesteaders.

46 STAR FLAG

48 STAR FLAG

48 STAR FLAG

1912 – 1959

The 48 Star Flag became the official United States Flag on July 4, 1912.  Two stars were added for the admission of New Mexico (January 6, 1912) and Arizona (February 14, 1912) to the United States of America. 

The southwestern territories of New Mexico and Arizona were the last to join the 48 contiguous states. The 48-star flag flew longer than any other flag before it, 47 years, and eight presidents served under it.


49 STAR FLAG

1959 – 1960

The 49 Star Flag became the official United States Flag on July 4, 1959.  A star was added when after Alaska was granted statehood on January 3, 1959. 

Alaska, which was purchased from Russia in 1867, is 2.5 times the size of Texas, the second-largest U.S. state. Alaska became the first non-contiguous territory to become a state.

The 49-star flag was the last of the nine flags to fly for just one year.

49 STAR FLAG

50 STAR FLAG

50 STAR FLAG

1960 – PRESENT

The 50 Star Flag became the official United States Flag on July 4, 1960.  A star was added when Hawaii joined the United States on August 21, 1959.

Hawaii is the 50th state.  The 50-star flag has flown the longest of any U.S. flag, and in July it will have flown for 62 years. Thirteen presidents have served under this flag.


Attributed to USA Today, “The Stars and Stripes: Here are the 27 different US flags and their histories” by John Harrington, published July 3, 2019.  https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2019/07/03/july-4th-the-histories-us-flags-for-independence-day/39637697/

Banners proudly donated by Eder Flag Manufacturing.