Nashville, Tennessee – City Flag History

Dec 18th, 2016

Nashville was founded in 1806, but did not adopt an official flag until 1961. The city is the capital of the state of Tennessee. Its current city flag was adopted in 1963, and was officially presented in a ceremony held at the Metropolitan Courthouse in Nashville in 1964.  The occasion occurred after Davidson County and Nashville merged to form the Metro government. The flag consists of a blue field featuring city seal in the center and a gold strip on the fly.




According to the resolution that adopted the flag, its colors symbolize the following:


·         Blue: City leader’s courage and conviction throughout history

·         Gold: City wealth of land and resources


Nashville 1961


Nashville, before it consolidated with Davidson County, had adopted an official flag in 1961 after a contest was initiated by Mayor Ben West. High school students were told to refer to Nashville’s origins, traditions and history to design a city flag. The city received 122 submissions. A Hume Fogg senior, Harville Duncan, won the competition and received a 50 dollar savings bond as a prize. The meanings assigned to his design included:


·         Central Star: Capital of Tennessee

·         White rays from central star: Nashville reputation as a city of enlightenment, education, culture, religion, medicine, and its diverse commerce

·         Red background/blue border: City’s position

·         Wreath surrounding the letter “N”: Nashville reputation as the “Athens of the South”


Once Nashville and Davidson County consolidated, the 1961 flag was retired from service in 1963 and the Assistant Executive Secretary of Nashville Fire Department, Fred G. Davis, took it home with him. In 2002, after Davis’ death, his wife, Betty Davis, donated the flag to the Metro Archives where it is currently being preserved.


In 2004, the North American Vexillological Association conducted The American City Flag Survey. Nashville’s current flag ranked 43rd out of 150 flags. In rating the flag, comments were made indicating that the use of the city seal on the flag made it difficult to distinguish from a distance, and that the outer stripe would make it difficult to maintain since the outer edges tend to fray.


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