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Long May She Wave: Celebrating Independence Day in WV

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
July 3rd, 2017

Blog post by Stewart Plein, Rare Book Librarian

One thing is common to all Independence Day celebrations: the American flag.  Cities and towns across the state of West Virginia have celebrated Independence Day with banners and flags of all sorts, sizes and styles.  Here’s a look back at some high flying flag celebrations for the Fourth of July across the state and over the years.


Woman with flag pinned to her dress

Young woman with a flag pinned to her dress, Helvetia, early twentieth century.

Five African American drum corps members with drums and flag

African American Drum Corp, 1915. 

Float pulled by horses in old July 4 parade

Huntington really knew how to celebrate.  Fourth of July Parade, 1882.

July 4 parade float reenacting the WWII flag raising at Iwo Jima

Huntington celebrated with this float reenacting the WWII flag raising at Iwo Jima, 1946.

July 4 parade float

Uncle Sam joins the crowd on this Huntington Parade float, 1946.

Monongalia County Courthouse draped in American flag themed bunting

Our own Monongalia County Courthouse, draped in flags from the clock tower to the street.
Morgantown, approximately early twentieth century.

Storer College students marching in military style uniforms

Students of Storer College marching in military garb, Harper’s Ferry.

July 4 parade in Thomas, WV

If you’ve ever been to Thomas, you may be surprised like me to see so many people in such a small downtown to celebrate the Fourth of July!  1909.

Portrait of two young children waving small flags

Flag waving kids, early twentieth century.

Two YWCA women pose with bugles and flag

YWCA workers pose with a very large, dramatically draped flag, early twentieth century.

9-year-old James Edwin Green, Jr. posing in his father’s Spanish American War uniform while holding a rifle, surrounded by American flags

This charming photograph shows 9-year-old James Edwin Green, Jr. (b. 1904), son of photographer James Edwin Green, posing in his father’s Spanish American War uniform while holding a rifle. He is surrounded by American flags, celebrating the Fourth of July.


All of these photographs, and many more, are available on the West Virginia and Regional History Center website, West Virginia History OnView:    Want to see the real thing?  Stop by to take a look.  We’re here to help.


Happy Independence Day!



Banner Flag:

All photographs: West Virginia History OnView:

2 Responses to 'Long May She Wave: Celebrating Independence Day in WV'

  1. Stan Says:

    I enjoyed the pictures, thanks for posting them. I wonder if the picture of the Mon County courthouse might have been taken at some other time of year – judging from the men’s attire and lack of foliage on the tree? Still, and interesting photo.

  2. Jane Metters LaBarbara Says:

    Hi Stan, I’m not sure if my first attempt at replying worked! I think you’re right about the bare tree probably pointing to sometime other than July–we’ll have to consider when the courthouse might have been decked out like that, if not July 4th.

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