Oakland, California, City Flag

Feb 9th, 2018


Oakland is the seat of Alameda County in the west central region of California. It is a West Coast port city and one of the largest cities in the San Francisco Bay area. In the 1800s, the area was almost covered by an oak forest. Development began in 1851 and led to incorporation as a town in 1852, and as a city in 1854.


It is not known whether the city flag that has been used to represent the city since 1952 was officially adopted. It is known that, because of the approaching centennial that year, Councilman William Clausen, with the approval of Mayor Clifford Rishell, called for a city flag design contest. The entries were judged by art department representatives from the California College of Arts and Crafts, Mills College, and the University of California. An artist, George W. Lasko, Jr., submitted the winning entry and was awarded a prize of $200.


The oak tree is representative of the city of Oakland, and 1852 represents the year that the town was incorporated. The reason the particular colors were chosen is unknown.


In 2004, the North American Vexillological Association, NAVA, conducted The American City Flag Survey. Oakland’s flag ranked 47th out of 150 flags. It can be speculated that the lower rating was the result of the lettering on the flag. Read the top five Vexillologist rules of simple flag design.


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