Missouri Flag Centennial Celebration March 21-23

by News Bureau on Friday, Mar. 15, 2013

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., March 15, 2013 — The 100th anniversary of the official adoption of the Missouri flag, which was designed in Cape Girardeau, will be celebrated with three days of festivities March 21-23 designed to preserve the area’s local and regional heritage.

March 22 marks the centennial of the state flag designed by Marie Watkins Oliver. To commemorate the occasion, the State Historical Society of Missouri, the Missouri Conference on History, Southeast Missouri State University, the Center for Regional History, and Drs. Bert and Mary Ann Kellerman are sponsoring a Missouri Flag Centennial Celebration.

The flag was designed by Oliver, the wife of State Senator R.B. Oliver, 100 years ago at their home at 740 North Street in Cape Girardeau. The house has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1980 as the Oliver-Leming House. The house, also known as the Flag House, is a design of prominent St. Louis architect J.B. Legg who also planned Academic Hall and two other buildings at Southeast Missouri State University, several Missouri courthouses and a host of other notable structures in Cape Girardeau and Missouri. The home’s construction began in 1895.

The Kellermans bought the house in 2002 and began restoration in 2010. Both have served on the state board of Missouri Preservation (formerly known as the Missouri Alliance for Historic Preservation). They say next week’s centennial celebration is noteworthy for Cape Girardeau because the flag was created here. The celebration also puts into historical perspective the stature of the Oliver-Leming home itself along with the families who have lived there and what they represent to the city and the state.

The three-day event begins March 21 with the Missouri Conference on History, headed by Dr. Joel Rhodes, Southeast professor of history. About 120 Missouri historians are expected to attend. U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, who is a State Historical Society board member, will be the principal speaker at the annual dinner of the Conference March 21. A scheduled meeting of the State Historical Society Board of Trustees is planned for March 22.

Events continue March 22 with the Flag Centennial Ceremony in the Family Life Center at Centenary Methodist Church, 300 N. Ellis Street. The ceremony will feature presentations by dignitaries and special guests. The ceremony is open to the public and scheduled for 1:30-2:30 p.m. The original flag that first flew over the Missouri State Capital will be available for viewing. in the Center’s gymnasium. A comfort station will be available at the Centenary Fellowship Hall. Parking will be available in the Centenary Methodist Church parking lot and the University’s lot at the corner of Pacific and North Street.

Following the centennial ceremony, a Regional History Fair will be held in Centenary’s Family Life Center. About a dozen local historical organizations and about 10 authors who have written about the region will be on hand from 2:30-4:30 p.m. to share information and their interest in the history of this region. The event is free and open to the public.

Public tours of the Flag House will be available from 1-4 p.m. March 23.

For more information on the Flag Centennial Celebration, contact Annie Criddle at (573) 275-1052 or acriddle1875@yahoo.com.