Phoenix, Arizona, City Flag History

Jan 5th, 2017

Phoenix was incorporated in 1881, and became the Arizona territory capital in 1889 and the state of Arizona capital in 1912. The city is located in the Sonoran Desert and is known as “the valley of the sun”. The city adopted its first official flag in 1921, and adopted a new flag in 1990.


Phoenix City Flag


The current flag features a white phoenix on a purple field. The mythological bird is positioned facing the hoist, its wings in curved towards the upper fly.  In mythology, the bird rose from the ashes after being consumed by flames. The name also meant the color purple in ancient Greek and may be why that color was chosen for the field. The phoenix was adopted by the city council as its official logo in 1987. The logo may have been chosen because it relates to the heat and sun that are distinct geographical features of the city of Phoenix.


The first official flag, adopted in 1921, featured a dark gray phoenix with its wings stretched out and its head facing the fly on a blue field. The phoenix was pictured rising from flames above a yellow and black torse.  A yellow sun and 48 rays were featured behind the central figure. The number of rays could reflect that the state of Arizona was the 48th state admitted to the Union in 1912. A white ribbon below the featured design contained the wording “City of Phoenix Arizona”.


Phoenix 1921


In 1921, the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce sponsored a city flag design contest. The design that was chosen for the official flag was designed by Frederick C. Green Sr., the 2nd place winner in the contest. The first place design was not selected because it was thought to be too ornate.


In 2004, the North American Vexillological Association conducted The American City Flag Survey. Phoenix’s flag ranked 4th out of 150 flags.


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