Findlay — also known as Flag City, USA — will celebrate Flag Day on Friday with a display of one of the country’s oldest and rarest flags.
The Revolutionary War-era flag, owned by the Mooney family of southern Ohio, will be on exhibit at the Hancock Historical Museum.
Findlay was officially designated as Flag City, USA in 1974.
A special reception unveiling the flag will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday at the museum, 422 W. Sandusky St. Findlay Mayor Christina Muryn and James Mooney of the Mooney family of Cincinnati will attend. The reception is open to the public.
There are very few 13-star American flags left in existence and this is the only one of its kind available for public display, according to the museum. Most recently the flag was displayed at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati.
The flag is believed to have been used during the Revolutionary War at Fort Independence in Boston.
Renowned textile expert Rabbit Goody has analyzed the Mooney flag to authenticate the date of construction. She found that the threads, weaving techniques and sewing techniques used in the construction of the flag are consistent with those used in the late 1700s. She also stated that the flag’s shape, appearance, wear and oral history are consistent with other flags surviving from the late 18th century.
Goody believes the flag to be authentic and her findings were confirmed by textile expert Irene Good at Harvard University’s Peabody Museum. Dye testing results have further affirmed Goody’s conclusions.
The road to Findlay being designated as Flag City, USA began in 1968, when John B. Cooke moved to town. As a member of the Sons of the American Revolution, Cooke believed in the value of flying the American flag and went door-to-door asking residents and businesses alike to fly a flag on Flag Day, June 14, 1968.
Cooke also created a fund and purchased 14,000 small flags for the community. This project continued until 1974, when the Women’s Division of the Chamber of Commerce started a campaign to once again have flags fly and to have the city of Findlay become officially known as Flag City, USA. Members enlisted the assistance of U.S. Rep. Tennyson Guyer to champion the cause.
On May 7, 1974, the House of Representatives passed a resolution officially declaring Findlay as Flag City, USA.
The Mooney family flag will be displayed at the museum during regular hours, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, and 1-4 p.m. Sunday, through July 5.