Washington D.C. Flag History

Dec 3rd, 2016

Washington D.C. (District of Columbia) is a federal district and the Capitol of the United States. Federal government operations were moved to the city in 1801. Although several different banners were displayed over the years, D.C. did not adopt an official flag until 1938 after a commission was established by Congress to select an original design. A competition was held and the design submitted by Charles A.R. Dunn, a graphic artist, was selected as the winner. His design was officially adopted on October 15, 1938. Dunn had proposed the same flag design in 1921, but no action was taken.


D.C. Flag


The design was based on George Washington’s coat of arms. Section 1-151, effective March 25, 2003, of the D.C. Code describes the current official flag:


“The flag of the District of Columbia shall be 3 red stars in the upper portion of the flag (the chief), with 2 red horizontal bars on a field of white. All proportions described in this section are expressed in relation to the flag's vertical dimension (the hoist). The chief shall be 3/10 of the hoist, the horizontal red bars shall be 2/10, the base and white space between the 2 bars shall be 2/10 and 1/10, respectively. The red stars shall be 2/10 in diameter, and shall be spaced equidistant in the fly. The length of the fly shall depend on the proportions of the flag upon which this design may be displayed.”


The D.C. flag was temporarily redesigned in 2003 to include the words “D.C.” and “Taxation Without Representation” in the original design. The design is in support of the protest that, as a federal district, citizens of D.C. are not represented in Congress by representatives or senators. An amendment was made to the flag code in 2013 to dictate that the flag will no longer be displayed except on Flag Day each year until the Council officially adopts a specific flag design.


D.C. Protest Flag


NAVA Survey Rank


The North American Vexillological Association’s 2004 survey of 150 American city flag designs. D.C.s flag was ranked first out of all of the designs that were rated. The D.C. flag was rated 8th out of 72 Canadian provinces and American territories and state flag designs in the 2001 North American Vexillological Association’s survey.  



Flagpoles Etc.


We are a family owned business that has spent over 25 years in our chosen trade. All of our products are made in America. Please feel free to contact us with any questions that you may have regarding flags, flagpoles, and flag and flagpole accessories. Visit our Website to purchase yours today!


To keep up-to-date on our latest news and informative blog posts, Like us on Facebook, and  Follow us on Twitter (@FlagPoleEtc) and Google Plus