If you’ve ever traveled through Bay City, Michigan, you might have noticed a large American flag nestled in the trees off the side of I-75. And if you looked a little closer, you probably realized that it wasn’t a flag at all, but a large brick structure painted to look like one.
But who built this brick flag, and why?
Michigan’s iconic all-brick American flag was erected in 1975 as a landmark for the future Little Michigan amusement park that wasn’t meant to be. It stands to this day as a patriotic symbol welcoming visitors to the Bay City area.
This is the true history behind how the flag came to be, and the untold story of the hardworking family man who built it.
The Story Behind Michigan’s Brick Flag
If you’re wondering where Michigan’s brick American flag came from, you’re not alone. Most people don’t know the story behind this northern landmark.
The brick flag was constructed in 1975 to mark the spot where a new amusement park called “Little Michigan” was supposed to be built the following year.
The theme park was the brainchild of local Bay City businessman Jim Graham. His vision was to create a park in the shape of the state of Michigan, with small ponds symbolizing each of the five great lakes. The brick flag was built to help promote the park ahead of its completion.
The flag is double-sided, with one side showing the traditional American flag with all the stars and stripes for those heading North, while southbound travelers will see the bicentennial design with a circle of stars on the other side.
Unfortunately, they were never able to break ground on Little Michigan, but the flag still stands, and looks as beautiful as ever. Now, it greets Bay City residents and visitors alike as they drive past it on I-75.
Remembering Ronald: The Bricklayer Who Made it All Possible
While most people credit Michigan’s famous brick flag to Jim Graham, the businessman behind the Little Michigan theme park, he wasn’t actually the one who built it.
When Jim decided to construct a flag to mark the spot where Little Michigan was supposed to stand, he hired a masonry expert named Ronald Mosher to make it happen.
Though Ronald passed away in 2013, his daughter, Tammy Ellenberger, does what she can to make sure her dad receives proper credit for his work.
“People are saying that a man named Jim Graham built that flag, but he did NOT build the flag. He hired my father, Ronald Mosher, to build that flag,” she said. “He was always proud of the hard work he did on this.”
Ronald was a hardworking family man who did masonry work around the area in the 1970s. Tammy vividly remembers the work he put into building the flag.
“My father was a very well-known mason contractor in the Bay City area at the time,” she said. “I remember when my dad was building the flag, my momma would pack us kids up to take him lunch because we lived nearby.”
Ronald eventually moved away to Clarkston, Michigan, but the mark he left in Bay City is still admired by motorists to this day.
Hardworking tradesmen like Ronald are the reason we do what we do here at GeoGrit, and masons like him are the inspiration for our Brick Red aluminum wallet. We’re proud to be able to share his story, and shed light on the men and women behind projects like these.
Where Is the Brick Flag in Michigan?: How to Find It
The brick American flag along the side of I-75 has become a bit of a landmark in the area since it was built in the 1970s. If you’re planning a trip to the area, you’ll probably want to look for it as you drive by and maybe snap a picture or two.
So, where can you find this famous flag?
The brick flag is located on the East side of Michigan near Bay City. It stands on the side of I-75 just North of Exit 164 heading into the city. For locals, the flag has marked the dividing line between North and South Michigan for nearly 50 years.
Whether you’ve driven by the brick American flag near Bay City, Michigan hundreds of times or want to look for it as you pass through, the story behind this iconic piece is certainly an interesting one.
It’s because of men and women like Ronald Mosher that we have unique, all-American landmarks like these to enjoy. And they’re the reason for everything we do here at GeoGrit.
If you’re looking for a durable, RFID-blocking, minimalist wallet, check out our selection here. All of our products are designed, manufactured, and shipped in America and are backed by our 30-day risk-free trial and lifetime guarantee.To stay up-to-date on all of the latest GeoGrit content and offerings, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Check out more of our blog posts and sign up to receive updates whenever new articles are posted here.