The First Maine Flag: Old Is New Again

Maine had no flag for its first 81 years of life as a state. We aren’t sure how it survived so long without one, but in 1901 the legislature got the right idea and adopted its first.

Without diving deep into the reasons why, flag enthusiasts and designers agree that it was a good flag. The background was buff colored, an unusual but distinctive choice. It featured the great pine tree in its proper color green and near the upper hoist corner was the North Star in blue.

One of only three remaining original Maine Flags, photo courtesy of David Martucci (Washington, Maine)

Only two or three of the originals exist today and luckily one of them is at home here in Maine in the dutiful hands of prominent vexillologist, David Martucci. In both 1990 and 1992, Mr. Martucci advocated for proposed legislation to revert to the 1901 flag, arguing that it was a simpler, more representative design of Maine as the “Pine Tree State” and was unlike any other current US State flag. Both times the proposal unfortunately failed.

This effort deserves more attention and the timing could not be better. In 2020, Maine will celebrate its bicentennial. We want to demonstrate our pride of our great state with a great flag.

To that end, Bath Flag Co. is pleased to present to you our First Maine Flag.

This design adheres to the original 1901 adoption legislation, but the bill that passed did not set a visual standard for its design. In lieu of the painted and highly detailed pine tree on the original silk version, we’ve incorporated a more stylized tree we believe is more recognizable from a distance and more easily reproduced.

Mainers don’t often bother with the official flag and it rarely appears on merchandise because of that. Yet versions of this flag are already flying around the state and gaining in popularity. Finally a symbol we can all be proud of is available once again.