Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, City Flag History

Jun 5th, 2017

Pittsburg is one of the largest cities in the Pennsylvania. It is located in the western part of the state. General John Forbes named the city in 1758 in honor of the first Earl of Chatham, William Pitt, a British statesman. Pittsburg was incorporated as a township in 1771, a borough in 1794, and a city in 1816. The city adopted an official “civic” flag in the same year that is was incorporated as a city.



When the official flag was adopted, the Code of Ordinances dictated that the flag must be made of American made materials. The colors on the field were black, pale gold, and black stripes, and the city seal featured on the pale gold stripe in the center. The Code of Ordinances further dictated that the flag, or standard as it called in that era, must be ten feet by six feet in size, or in proportions thereof. The civic flag is to be displayed at meetings of Councils, on public buildings, and on “suitable” public occasions. Its position must not be superior to the United States flag.


It is unknown why the colors of the field, black and pale gold, were chosen for the civic flag. The coat of arms is based on the coat of arms of William Pitt, the namesake of the city. It is said that the castle image represents the city of Pittsburgh.


In 2004, the North American Vexillological Association, NAVA, conducted The American City Flag Survey. Detroit’s flag ranked 24th out of 150 flags. Most flags that contain a seal ranked much lower in the NAVA survey.


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