DAR presents 34-star American flag to Washington Hall

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Occasion is Colorado’s 142nd birthday

by Patty Unruh

The Evergreen Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) performed an 1860’s style flag presentation at Washington Hall in Central City on Wednesday, August 1.

On that date in 1876, President Ulysses S. Grant signed a proclamation admitting Colorado as the 38th state. Accordingly, August 1, 2018, marked Colorado’s 142nd birthday.

The DAR proudly presented a replica of a 34-star flag to the Washington Hall Courthouse, which now houses the Gilpin County Arts Association and the Gilpin Historical Society.  Members of the DAR and Historical Society met on the steps of the building for the ceremony.

During the Civil War period, four official flags were flown, with the 34-star flag being flown most extensively. From 1861 to 1863, it was the official flag of the United States.

Following the raising of the flag and the Pledge of Allegiance, DAR’s Regent Fran McVeigh presented some history on the American flag.

“The first official flag of the United States was adopted by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777, at Philadelphia. This was the famous Betsy Ross flag and was first used at the Battle of Brandywine,” McVeigh related.

The flag’s design evolved throughout our nation’s history. After the Revolutionary War, there were thirteen states, each represented by a star and a stripe. As more states were added, it became too awkward to give each state both a star and a stripe, so in 1812 Congress decided on thirteen stripes to represent the thirteen original colonies and one star to represent each state. In the 1845 War with Mexico, there were 29 stars, in the Civil War 35, in the Spanish-American War 45, and in World War I there were 48.

“What does the flag mean to the American people?” McVeigh questioned. “It stands first of all for unity. Our flag symbolizes a perfect union of many sovereign states all laboring for the welfare of a mighty and peace-loving people.”

She also said the flag stands for the people of America’s past, present, and future and for our bold pioneer spirit that made our land the home of freedom.

McVeigh recognized the historical significance of Washington Hall. “It is indeed an honor to recognize this structure built in 1862 by the early pioneers of the Colorado Territory from its humble beginnings as a jail. The Washington Hall Courthouse was constructed above the jail and has been the longest occupied and functioning public building in the state of Colorado.”

The Gilpin Historical Society’s website,, confirms that Washington Hall was the original county courthouse and jail and that it is a National Historic Site.

Deb Wray, a member of the Historical Society’s Board of Trustees, filled in the DAR members on some proposed plans that the Historical Society has for future events.

“We are looking at a reunion for people who went to the old Gilpin school,” she advised. “We may also do a Sunday social, with croquet and root beer floats, to involve kids in history. We want to try to do some different things.”

Wray mentioned the two teas the Historical Society presents each year at Central City’s noted Stroehle House, commenting that the September tea is nearly sold out. Unfortunately, the Stroehle House has been needing some repairs lately, she said, and funds are hard to come by. DAR members suggested that the Historical Society could apply for a DAR special projects grant. If approved, the DAR would provide matching funds for a project to do repairs; the Historical Society would need to come up with half. The grant program provides local community grant funding to support projects such as restoration of historical buildings or sites.


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