Springfield, Illinois, City Flag History

Mar 11th, 2017

Springfield, Illinois, was settled in 1818 by trappers and traders. It was originally named Calhoun, after South Carolina Senator John C. Calhoun. In 1832, the Calhoun fell out of favor and the town was renamed Springfield. The city became the capital of Illinois in 1839 due to the efforts of Abraham Lincoln, long before he became President of the United States, and others. The city did not adopt an official city flag in 1917.



In 1916, the Springfield Art Association sponsored a contest for city flag designs. Vachel Lindsay, a famed poet and Springfield resident, was the person that conceived the idea of having the contest. The winning entry was submitted by S.T. Wallace. The winning entry was described as having a blue field, a circle of 20 white stars placed in the canton area, and a white and a red star in the center of the field. The 20 stars represented the 20 states that had been admitted to the Union at the time, the center white star represented Illinois, and the red star represented Springfield.


There is not much more than that stated above about the original flag that was adopted by Springfield. The current ordinance was adopted in 2002. It describes the flag as Old Glory blue, and featuring a circle of 20 white stars pointing upwards. In the center of the circle of small white stars is a white star, and within the white star, an Old Glory red star. The flag shown above does not conform to that ordinance, but is the one that is most commonly flown in the city. It has been said that there are five different versions of the flag that are flown to represent the city, four of them unofficial.


In 2004, the North American Vexillological Association conducted The American City Flag Survey. Springfield’s flag, the one pictured above, ranked 41st out of 150 city flags that were included in that survey.


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