Wooden Flag Display
Library’s Wooden American Flag Display
(William Wallace Power, 1864-1945)
Wallace Power whittled this flag entirely from wood. While working days as a wood chopper during the 1930s, he carved the flag in spare moments over a period of ten years, often whittling by lamplight.
Power carved the field of stars from a single block of wood and carefully whittled each star until only the points hold it in place. He whittled three chains to create each of the thirteen stripes. Each chain originally consisted of a single length of wood. Power reportedly did not break a single link while carving, and there are altogether 2,100 links in the flag’s stripes.
Power first exhibited the flag in Milwaukee at a hobby show in 1939, where it received considerable attention from the press.
The flag has survived two house fires. Dodgeville whittler Don Berryman replaced several of the chains after the first fire. As a boy, he had watched Wallace Power work on the flag.
After the more recent fire, Power’s grandson Clifford Power of Madison, rebuilt the flag, replacing missing links and carefully scraping ones that were only slightly charred. His cousin, Hadie Stebleton of Hewitt, helped him paint the flag. “If grandpa took ten years to carve it, I guess I can take a few hundred hours to repair it so people can see what he made,” Bowers claimed.
This text is reproduced verbatim from a wall plaque at the Dodgeville Public Library. The American Flag whittled by Wallace Power of Dodgeville, Wisconsin, is on loan to the Library. Many thanks to the Wallace Power family for sharing this snapshot of their family heritage.