Starke County’s new flag is now flying proudly over the courthouse. It was unveiled during Friday’s bicentennial torch relay celebration and officially raised for the first time Monday morning. Starke Circuit Judge Kim Hall presided over the brief ceremony after accepting the flag from Melba and Brad Shilling. Her late husband, Jim, was a well-known historian, community activist and a past winner of the Henry F. Schricker Award. It’s presented annually to a resident who embodies the former governor’s credo of “service before self.”
Shilling died last October, nearly a year before the bicentennial torch visited Starke County on its journey around the state, but his legacy lives on through the flag and many other contributions. Melba told the gathering of courthouse employees and county elected officials Jim wanted Starke County to have a flag of its own after a visit to Ottawa County, Ohio a few years ago.
The idea was revived during the bicentennial celebration planning. Shilling’s granddaughter, Kaylee Crom of Knox, who was 12 at the time, sketched the original vision for the design. It depicts the state in yellow on a red, white and blue background with an outline of Starke County imposed over the state. Inside the county are nine stars – one for each township.
The three stars in the bend of the Kankakee River represent the three “lost townships” of Dewey, Prairie and Cass. They were originally part of Starke County, but the state legislature transferred them to LaPorte County in 1842 due to difficulty crossing the Kankakee River to pay property taxes in Knox.
Both desktop and full-size flags are available for purchase. Contact Melba Shilling at 574-772-2033 for more information.