The Montana state flag, officially adopted in 1905, was born of the initiative of Colonel Harry C. Kessler in 1898. Colonel Kessler, head of the 1st Montana Infantry (a group of volunteers recruited to fight in the Spanish-American War), created a flag to distinguish his men from other forces. This flag consisted of the Montana state seal on a dark blue background with the words “1st Montana Inft’y U.S.V.” at the top. On the seal are a miner’s pick and shovel with the Great Falls of the Missouri River running nearby surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery. A ribbon beneath the pick and shovel displays the words “Oro y Plata” (gold and silver in Spanish). Upon their return, the flag grew in popularity and was officially recognized as the MT State flag in 1905 (minus the Infantry headline). In 1981, the Montana Legislature added the word “Montana” in Roman lettering above the seal, and further detail was approved in 1985, specifically requiring Helvetica Bold type to be used in displaying the state name.
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