Hartford’s liberty loan parade in Early Washington County, Wisconsin
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Stars and Stripes: 7 Historic Images of the American Flag in Washington County

Throughout history, the American flag has been flown as a declaration of pride in our country. More than likely, you see the American flag every day: flown over buildings, hung from walls, or adorning lawns. But how often do you see the star-spangled banner flying a century ago? 

Join us in celebrating the American flag in Washington County through a collection of historic photographs. Watch communities – like Hartford, Kewaskum, and Slinger – rally together and celebrate America’s independence.

The American flag at Kewaskum’s Main Street in Early Washington County, Wisconsin
American flags adorn Main Street as spectators wait along the side, casually watching the many horse-drawn buggies and automobiles as they drive up and down the road. This is Kewaskum’s main street, captured sometime between 1912 and 1925. At this time, the addition of New Mexico and Arizona on the flag would have been recent, bringing the American flag to a total of 48 stars.

The American flag at the American Legion Parade in Kewaskum
Taken in 1924, here’s a view of the American Legion Parade on the main street of Kewaskum. Parade members are marching east as spectators watch enthusiastically. Several American flags dot the view. The most pronounced, being centered in the frame, among the parade goers.

The American flag at Slinger’s liberty loan parade in Early Washington County, Wisconsin
A procession of vehicles and people proceed along Schleisingerville’s main street in 1918. The reason? To garner funds to aid in America’s participation in World War 1. Liberty loan parades were a popular event to build enthusiasm within the community and encourage the purchase of liberty bonds. The parade continued to the south side of the park. Notice the flag that’s hanging in the center? If you zoom in, you’ll notice it has only 48 stars. This was before 1960 when the flag was modified to include Alaska and Hawaii.

Raising and dedication of the American Flag at the Kissel Motor Car Company in Hartford
Photographed in 1918, military units among others are engaging in a formal flag-raising ceremony at the Kissel Motor Car Company Factory in Hartford, Wisconsin. During World War 1, Kissel was subcontracted by Four-Wheel Drive of Clintonville, Wisconsin, to manufacture trucks for the US Army. Aside from the ascending flag, two other flags border the image.

The American flag at a parade at West Bend's Main Street in Washington County, Wisconsin
Taken sometime between 1916 and 1917, the city of West Bend is gathered on Main Street for a World War 1 street demonstration, including a parade and speaker. American flags are interwoven with the crowd, hung from buildings, flown over rooftops, and affixed to vehicles.

The American flag at Hartford’s liberty loan parade in Early Washington County, Wisconsin
Clearing the way with Hartford’s liberty loan parade in 1918. The image features an assembly of spectators watching the American flag being carried through town. Several other American flags are visible.

The American flag at the parade on Kewaskum’s Main Street in Early Washington County, Wisconsin
The American Legion Parade marching down the main street of Kewaskum. This photo was captured in 1924 by the James Andre family in front of the Grandview lunchroom and ice cream shop on the intersection of Main Street and Fond du Lac Avenue in Kewaskum, Wisconsin. American Flags fly across the street.

Parting Words

Throughout our nation’s history, there have been 27 different variations of the American flag. Even so, it remains the most iconic symbol of American freedom and justice. These broad stripes and bright stars unite us. Our patriotism shines bright, in the past and the present. 


American Legion Parade Marching East on Main Street, Kewauskum, Wisconsin, 1924. Photograph. Kewaskum Public Library. 1924.

American Legion Parade Marching on Main Street, Kewauskum, Wisconsin. Photograph. Kewaskum Public Library. 1924.

Hartford Liberty Loan Parade. Photograph. Wisconsin Historical Society. 1918.

“Harry Truman and the 48-Star Flag.” National Park Service. July 25, 2021.

Liberty Loan Parade. Photograph. University of Wisconsin-Madison. 1918.

Street View of Main Street Decorated in Flags, Kewaskum, Wisconsin. Photograph. Kewaskum Public Library. 1905-1925.  

All photographs not referenced are courtesy of the Washington County Historical Society’s Research Center. 

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