Kansas State Flag History

Oct 1st, 2016

Kansas became the 34th state to join the Union on January 23, 1861. It did not adopt its first official state flag until 1927. That flag had a dark blue field and featured the state seal in the center, the state crest above the seal.

 

Kansas

 

The Daughters of the American Revolution held a flag design contest in 1916. The winner of the contest was Esther Northrup. The flag featured three stripes of red, white and blue on the field, and a dark blue canton containing the state seal with a gold sunflower in the upper left corner. In 1917, the legislature refused to adopt her design for the official state flag.

 

Although the state did not adopt an official flag at that time, it did adopt a state banner in 1925. It was designed by Hazel Avery and used for the first time in a Lincoln, Kansas, Fourth of July parade. The banner was hung from a horizontal bar rather than mounted on a pole. Many organizations and citizens were unhappy with the legislature’s decision to adopt a banner rather than a flag.

 

Kansas Banner

Photo courtesy of Kansas Historical Society

 

Washington, D.C. refused to display the banner along with other state flags. As a result of that refusal and of continuing conflict over adopting a banner instead of a flag, an official state flag was adopted was finally adopted in 1927. It was reported to have flown for the first time at Fort Riley for the troops at the fort and for the Kansas National Guard.

 

The state flag law was amended in 1961 by adding the state name at the bottom of the flag. Other than that change, the Kansas state flag has remained the same design as it was when it was first adopted in 1927.

 

Kansas 1927

 

The North American Vexillological Association conducted a survey of 72 flags in 2001. Flags from Canadian provinces and U.S. states and territories were rated on the quality of the design. The Kansas state flag ranked 69; the third worst design among the 72 rated.

 

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