Details: 48 stars
Happy Independence Day! Browsing through the Sholesonian collections I was trying to decide what would be a great piece to post that celebrates the United States on it's 235 birthday and what better than the old American Flag. This is one of the more prominent permanent displays at the Sholesonian, but what makes it so special? Well, count the stars. That's right this is an original 48 star flag, framed in all its glory (you can see George Washington in the corner on a quarter for scale). For those who are a bit rusty on their American history, the current 50 star flag came into being after Hawaii finally declared statehood after Alaska back in 1959.
On the back of the frame reads:
"Barn Ball Flag"
Placed in Peak of Barn at Sholestead,Sennett, N.Y. by David G. Sholesaround 1965. Retrieved by Steven F.Sholes upon sale of Sholestead in July 2003.
The 48 star flag was used for 47 years and is the second longest used flag in American history, with the current 50 star flag beating it out. It first came in use in 1912 after the incorporation of Arizona and New Mexico into the Union (There was no 47 star flag but a 49 star flag was used for a year). It's also interesting to note that there are already flag proposals for flags up to 56 stars for any case in which some territories of the United States reach statehood (such as Puerto Rico, Washington D.C., New York City, etc.), and you can learn more about the history of the US flag here. And I also suggest you hop on over to the Smithsonian site to check out THE original Star Spangled Banner - the one Francis Scott Key saw still waving over the fort and wrote the song from.