What's that flag at Phillips House?
July 26, 2014
If you've strolled down scenic Chestnut Street in Salem, Massachusetts, you may have wondered about the flag that flies outside Historic New England's Phillips House.
Stephen Henry Phillips was the first appointed attorney general to the Kingdom of Hawaii under King Kamehameha V. His son, Stephen Willard Phillips, the owner of the house at 34 Chestnut Street from 1911 to 1955, was a Hawaiian citizen by birth. Though he naturalized in 1898, the younger Phillips was always proud of his Hawaiian roots. One of the many ways he showed this pride was by flying his native flag from Phillips House.
The Hawaiian flag has evolved over the centuries into what Mr. Phillips flew from the second floor window. Through the eighteenth century, Kamehameha I flew a British flag through his kingdom. After the War of 1812, a new flag, combining the Union Jack of Britain and the stripes of the United States, was commissioned. The eight stripes on the flag represent each of the Hawaiian islands.
Historic New England's Phillips collection includes a number of Hawaiian flags made from a variety of materials through the years, each flown from the window in the same way our new flag does today.