About the State Flag

About the State Flag

1-1-502. State flag. There is hereby established a state flag of Montana. The state flag of Montana shall be a flag having a blue field with a representation of the great seal of the state in the center and with golden fringe along the upper and lower borders of the flag; the same being the flag borne by the 1st Montana Infantry, U.S.V., in the Spanish-American War, with the exception of the device, "1st Montana Infantry, U.S.V."; and above the great seal of the state shall be the word "MONTANA" in helvetica bold letters of gold color equal in height to one-tenth of the total vertical measurement of the blue field.

History: En. Secs. 1, 2, Ch. 42, L. 1905; re-en. Secs. 432, 433, Rev. C. 1907; re-en. Secs. 528, 529, R.C.M. 1921; re-en. Secs. 528, 529, R.C.M. 1935; R.C.M. 1947, 19-113, 19-114; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 49, L. 1981; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 335, L. 1985.

The official flag of the State of Montana contains a reproduction of the Great Seal of the State in color on a field of deep blue, with gold fringe along the upper and lower borders. Although the flag was carried in the Philippines by the Montana Volunteers in the Spanish-American War in 1898 and was for many years considered the state flag, official action did not come from Montana Legislators until the session of 1904.

The original hand-made banner carried by the First Montana Volunteers in the Spanish-American War is preserved by the Historical Society of Montana. It is 60 X 44 inches overall, the dark blue silk of the field is tattered and somewhat faded. But the Great Seal, beautifully hand-embroidered into a heavy tapestry, is in perfect condition. The words "First Montana Infantry, U.S.V." are embroidered in white over the multi-colored Great Seal. A 3-inch gold fringe adorns the top and bottom of this historic banner.

When the Ninth Legislative Assembly gathered in Helena in 1905, Representative Jacob M. Kennedy of Silver Bow County introduced House bill 157 adopting the banner as the State's official flag, with the deletion of the Infantry designation. Kennedy's bill read: "The 'State Flag of Montana' shall be a flag having a blue field, with a representation of the Great Seal of the State in the center, and with golden fringe along the upper and lower borders of the flag; the same being the flag borne by the First Montana Infantry, U.S.V., in the Spanish-American War with the exception of the device, '1st Montana Infantry, U.S.V.'"

The House of Representatives passed the bill without a dissenting vote on February 7, 1905, and the Senate concurred on February 19. But the flag proved to be a difficult one to manufacture since the Great Seal had to be reproduced in a perfect color register, and no specifications had been given as to the shade of blue in the field. The dark blue of the volunteer flag was copied as nearly as possible in reproductions.

The original hand-made banner carried by the First Montana Volunteers in the Spanish-American War.

A version of the state flag made in China.

Small Montana state flag purchased in Deer Lodge, Montana, in 2008
WI#577 Western Image Made in China $3.49