Camden County Museum receives a rare 45-star flag that had sat in a box at the Habitat for Humanity Re-store.
The Habitat for Humanity Re-store gets boxes full of donated items on a daily basis. Some items can easily be sold in the store, while others get donated to other venues.
A few years ago, the Re-store received a box with a flag inside. The flag was placed on a shelf in the back of the store and that is where it remained for years.
"I just saw that it was a flag and needed to be retired properly," store volunteer and Habitat for Humanity Board member, Kibbie Rolf, said.
When she thought of having it retired, she first thought of donating it to the Laurie Elks club and local boy scout troops who burn flags properly. She soon found out that such a retirement was not suitable for this particular flag.
"I opened it up and counted the stars and thought, 'This needs a better retirement than burning,' " she said.
The flag showcased 45 stars. This rare flag flew during the Spanish/American War and was first issued on July 4, 1896, a few months after Utah became the 45th state. The 45 star flag was retired in 1906, shortly before Oklahoma officially became the 46th state.
Looking closer at the rare find, she noticed that it was a coffin flag and had the name "G. F. Barton" written along the side.
During a recent board meeting, Kibbie Rolf told the Habitat for Humanity board about the treasure and asked what they would like done with it.
"Everybody was surprised that we even had it," she said. Board members suggested donating the flag to the Camden County museum in Linn Creek.
"It makes you feel good that you are putting it somewhere people can enjoy it," Philip Rolf, Kibbie's husband, said.
The Rolfs approached the museum staff, who were thrilled to receive the flag.
"I was so happy," Valerie Thomas, museum archivist, said of when she first found out about the donation. "Just touching it gives me shivers."
The museum will now house 45, 48 and 50 star flags. Kibbie Rolf also donated a 50 star flag that was found at the store.
"I'm just so delighted. I can't thank you two enough," Thomas told the Rolfs when they donated the flag on Thursday.
Thomas was still unsure of where the flag will hang in the museum, but is sure that it will be somewhere that generations to come can enjoy the sight of it.
The museum is opened Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. March through October.