Charleston, West Virginia, City Flag

Jul 7th, 2017

Charleston is the capital of West Virginia. It is located in the Southwest part of the state on the Western Allegheny Plateau. Charleston began as Charles Town, but the name was later shortened because it was causing confusion with another West Virginia town that had the same name. The city was founded in 1788, and was incorporated in 1794.


The Charleston Gazette held a city flag design competition in 1969. Over 1,200 entries were received and reviewed by a panel of judges headed up by the mayor of Charleston. The winning entry was submitted Gilbert Bayless, an analyst from Bancroft. His prize was $500 in cash.


The meanings assigned to the flag include the following:


*     Capital Dome: The capital of West Virginia – Charleston

*     Cogwheel: Industries in the city and Charleston’s previous nickname “The Cog City”

*     Crossed rifle and arrow: Charleston’s beginning as a fort during the French and Indian War

*     Paddleboat: The city’s location at the confluence of two rivers, the Elk and the Kanawha, and Charleston’s shipping economy

*     Pick and Shovel: Coat mining and its importance to the state


In 2004, the North American Vexillological Association, NAVA, conducted The American City Flag Survey. Charleston’s flag ranked 50 out of 150 flags. That ranking is somewhat surprising since most flags that contained seals or coats of arms ranked very low in the survey. Even though the city flag was not ranked very high, there is no indication that it intends to change the design.


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