The First Maine Flag: Old Is New Again

Maine had no flag for its first 81 years of life as a state. We aren't sure how it survived so long without one, but in 1901 the legislature got the right idea and adopted its first.

Without diving deep into the reasons why, flag enthusiasts and designers agree that it was a good flag. The background was buff colored, an unusual but distinctive choice. It featured the great pine tree in its proper color green and near the upper hoist corner was the North Star in blue.

One of only three remaining original Maine Flags, photo courtesy of David Martucci (Washington, Maine)

Only two or three of the originals exist today and luckily one of them is at home here in Maine in the dutiful hands of prominent vexillologist, David Martucci. In both 1990 and 1992, Mr. Martucci advocated for proposed legislation to revert to the 1901 flag, arguing that it was a simpler, more representative design of Maine as the "Pine Tree State" and was unlike any other current US State flag. Both times the proposal unfortunately failed.

This effort deserves more attention and the timing could not be better. In 2020, Maine will celebrate its bicentennial. We want to demonstrate our pride of our great state with a great flag.

To that end, Bath Flag Co. is pleased to present to you our First Maine Flag.

This design adheres to the original 1901 adoption legislation, but the bill that passed did not set a visual standard for its design. In lieu of the painted and highly detailed pine tree on the original silk version, we've incorporated a more stylized tree we believe is more recognizable from a distance and more easily reproduced.

Mainers don't often bother with the official flag and it rarely appears on merchandise because of that. Yet versions of this flag are already flying around the state and gaining in popularity. Finally a symbol we can all be proud of is available once again.

Related Product: Euro-style Oval Sticker

Two Hammond Designs in Portland Flag Contest

The Bangor Daily News Flag contest continues and two designs from Bath Flag Co. owner Jeremy Hammond are selected in the ten semi-finalists. You can vote for your favorite here.


flag4-600x360Design #1: Resurgam Flag

Blue and gold represent the sea and prosperity and provide continuity with the current Portland flag. In true heraldic form, the image of several anchors symbolically depicts a busy port. The number of anchors was chosen to honor the four fires the city has survived.

Contest judge Ted Kaye's comments:

This stand-out design combines two symbolic themes—the nautical history of Portland and its four fires—in a striking, effective, and recognizable image. I would be proud to live under this flag.


flag5-600x360Design #2 Portland Liberty Flag

This flag shares similar symbolism with the above, having four white stripes to represent the four fires and a golden anchor. It is inspired by both the National flag as well as the old, continental flag of New England.

Contest Judge Ted Kaye's comments:

This simple, conservative design could represent a state or even a country—the anchor is a great symbol.

City of Portland Contemplates New Flag

Photo of Portland, ME flag (via BDN)

Inclusion of the Portland, Maine flag in the recent Roman Mars TED Talk has caused a rippling effect in the community. A Portland high schooler has teamed up with prominent vexillologists Ted Kaye (from the other Portland) and David Martucci (of Maine) as well as the Bangor Daily News to launch a design contest for a new city flag.

In response to the Roman Mars talk, Portland blogger and BDN journalist Seth Koenig cites the flag of Bath as a "shining example of effectively designed flags." I was later interviewed by Koenig for another article on the same subject.

It certainly brings pride to me the Bath flag has been received so well. Hopefully one day my new home will have a beautiful flag as well! I have already submitted a few designs to the contest.

Designer and DJ Roman Mars on City Flag Design

Roman Mars is obsessed with flags — and after you watch this talk, you might be, too. These ubiquitous symbols of civic pride are often designed, well, pretty terribly. But they don't have to be. In this surprising and hilarious talk about vexillology — the study of flags — Mars reveals the five basic principles of flag design and shows why he believes they can be applied to just about anything.

Announcing Bath Flag Company

I am pleased to announce the launch of Bath Flag Co., a small, local entrepreneurial endeavor to brighten the world with flags by continuing to bring the Flag of Bath, Maine to life.

This project began on KickStarter and after receiving lots of messages from individuals wanting their own Bath Flag even after the campaign ended, it seemed like the right thing to do!

Please keep an eye out on the website and Facebook page for updates on products.

Thank you!

Thank you Kickstarter Backers!

Thirty two backers on Kickstarter are now the proud owners of some of the first flags of Bath to be made. Thank you to everyone who demonstrated their shared love of the city and enthusiasm for this new symbol of pride.

I've had a lot of requests for more flags and will continue trying to provide them to the public.