A view of American history, stitched in stars and stripes

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The Historic Village at Allaire put six antique American flags on display last weekend to celebrate the Fourth of July. [MARK R. SULLIVAN / THE COAST STAR]

WALL TOWNSHIP — The Historic Village at Allaire filled its chapel with its collection of antique American flags dating back over 150 years this past weekend to help celebrate the country’s 244th birthday.

This year’s antique flag display was the village’s fourth, and it continues to grow in popularity each year as the old flags have piqued many people’s patriotic curiosities.

Hance Sitkus, director of the historic village, said the display, which ran from July 2 through July 4, was  “very successful.” 

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In total, there were six flags on display, showing the United States’ changing history stitched in stars and stripes. The flags date from 1850 to 1960, the oldest of which has been authenticated by the Smithsonian Institution.

“These flags represent true American history,” Mr. Sitkus told The Coast Star.  “And as more states were added, the number of stars changed with time.  

“It’s amazing to see the hand-stitched stars and how perfect each one came out.  The colors of the red and blue linen fabric are still so vibrant,” he said.

The collection also includes a unique 25-star flag that flew “for only one year and that was during the time Allaire Village was operating.” 

The oldest flags in the village’s collections were originally owned by founder James P. Allaire himself. Others have been donated over the years to the village.

The flags are carefully stored when not on display, Mr. Stikus said, and the village follows the Smithsonian guidelines for storage.

“We follow the Smithsonian Institution protocol for storing the flags.  It is a process and we really follow it carefully to ensure the safety and preservation of the flags,” he said.

“It is a huge honor for our museum and nonprofit organization to have and hold these rare flags in stewardship for our country.  And we appreciate all who came to view these flags and support the Historic Village at Allaire. All proceeds from the weekend will go directly to the preservation of these treasured flags.

The village’s patriotic weekend also included lots of activities for visitors. The Pilsen Gourmet Food Truck, General Store and Bakery were all open for shopping and baked goods. 

On Sunday, July 4, colonial militia reenactors performed a demonstration and  a reading of the Declaration of Independence.

All proceeds and donations from the weekend will support the preservation of the antique flags along with the historic buildings within the village.

For more information about the Historic Village at Allaire and its upcoming events, visit allairevillage.org.

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