Rindge Selectwoman completes flag mural

  • Roberta Oeser decorated the side of her barn with a large depiction of the Betsy Ross flag. Courtesy photo—

  • Roberta Oeser decorated the side of her barn with a large depiction of the Betsy Ross flag. Courtesy photo—

  • Roberta Oeser decorated the side of her barn with a large depiction of the Betsy Ross flag. Courtesy photo—

  • Roberta Oeser of Rindge has painted a Betsy Ross flag on the side of her barn, creating a welcoming mural at the entrance to the town center. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • Roberta Oeser of Rindge has painted a Betsy Ross flag on the side of her barn, creating a welcoming mural at the entrance to the town center. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 12/11/2019 12:56:28 PM

While painting her sprawling 1700s farmhouse and attached barn, Roberta Oeser of Rindge looked up at the freshly primed side of her barn, and had an idea.

“I was looking at this massive white canvas, and I thought, ‘You know, I should put a flag up there,’” she said.

It seemed the perfect location for it. The house is located on Main Street in Rindge, and is one of the first residences that can be seen while driving into the town center. 

The idea continued to linger, and as she put a fresh coat of paint on the house – which is divided into several apartments and an office for her real estate business – Oeser kept a tab open on her tablet to a website detailing flag dimensions. 

“My joke to myself was that this project was going to be my treat for finishing the painting job. It was so exciting.”

The only daunting part to her was painting the fifty white stars. Having decided to tackle the project, she wanted to do it correctly, she said, and that meant precision, and she knew the stars would be the most difficult part. After mentioning her intention to a neighbor, she was given the suggestion to paint the 13-starred “Betsy Ross” version of the flag, to match the age of the house.

Oeser was immediately taken with the idea.

The Betsy Ross version of the flag was created circa 1776 – around the same time as Oeser’s home. The exact date of the house’s construction is unknown, with it perhaps being built sometime in the 1770s, or 1780 at the latest. It was first owned by Solomon Cutler, an early selectman. The Rindge town history notes Cutler was a farmer and innkeeper, so it’s likely the house – though not quite as expansive as its current configuration – was that inn.

The Betsy Ross version of the flag, with 13 stars to represent the 13 original colonies, would have been the flag of the day. The flag is named for Philadelphian upholsterer and flag maker Elizabeth “Betsy” Ross. Ross is confirmed to have manufactured the first flag with that design, and altered the design from a version with six-pointed stars to five, but the rest of the Betsy Ross legend – that she designed the flag and sewed it with her own hands – are more questionable family legends.

It is, however, one of the most recognizable symbols of early American patriotism, and a perfect fit for Oeser’s historic home.

After finishing putting a new coat of yellow paint on her house, Oeser spent a weekend drafting and painting the flag, with the use of a lift. Unlike the current U.S. flag, the Betsy Ross version does not have specific dimensions its depictions must adhere to, but Oeser still did her best to recreate a version as close to the realistic version as possible. 

Now, the painting has a place of pride at the entrance to the town common. 

“It’s kind of perfect. It’s the first thing you see when you come into town,” Oeser said.

 

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.




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