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St. Louis, Missouri (U.S.)

Last modified: 2018-07-31 by rick wyatt
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[flag of St. Louis, Missouri] 5:8 image(s) by permission of David B. Martucci
image(s) from American City Flags, Raven 9-10 (2002-2003), courtesy of the North American Vexillological Association, which retains copyright.



See also:


Current Flag

Text and image(s) from American City Flags, Raven 9-10 (2002-2003), courtesy of the North American Vexillological Association, which retains copyright. Image(s) from American City Flags by permission of David B. Martucci.

Design

The flag of St. Louis has a red field. Three undulating stripes—white, dark blue, white—of equal width extend from both hoist corners to a central point of the field one-third of the distance from the hoist. The three stripes continue horizontally across the center of the field to the fly’s edge, forming overall a wavy “Y” shape with its top to the hoist. The combined width of the three stripes is one unit on field of 5 by 8 units, so each stripe is one-third of a unit. Overlaying the intersection of the lines is a large gold disk, with a diameter of 2.2 units. Occupying most of the field of the disk is a dark blue fleur-de-lis.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Symbolism

The wavy lines emanating from the hoist corners symbolize the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, which meet at St. Louis. The horizontal wavy line across the field symbolizes the Mississippi River continuing alone. The gold disk (bezant) represents the city of St. Louis itself, located at the confluence of the two rivers. It also symbolizes the Louisiana Purchase, in which the city was included. (The ordinance of adoption explains that heraldically, the bezant, or Byzantine coin, signifies money, or simply, purchase.) The fleur-de-lis recalls the early French history of the city and the French saint for whom the city is named. The flag’s colors reflect those of Spain (red and yellow), Bourbon France (white and yellow), Napoleonic and Republican France (blue, white, and red), and the United States (red, white, and blue).
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Selection

On 28 November 1962, Mayor Raymond R. Tucker appointed a five-member committee to design a new flag for the city’s bicentennial celebration in 1964. The committee consisted of Charles Nagel, director of the City Art Museum (chairman); Dr. Arthur W. Proetz, a retired physician versed in St. Louis history; George R. Brooks, director of the Missouri Historical Society; Charles van Ravenswaay, a former director of the Missouri Historical Society and president of Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts; and Professor Theodore Sizer of Bethany, Connecticut, director emeritus of the Yale Gallery of Fine Arts. An anonymous gift of $1,000 through the City Art Museum funded the design project.
Flag adopted: 3 February 1964 (official)
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Designer

Professor Theodore Sizer, of the committee
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

More about the Flag

The ordinance of adoption does not specify the proportions, but does make Sizer’s design official, and the proportions of that flag are 5:8. Sizer’s original design had the field between the two rivers at the hoist in blue, but at the suggestion of the Rev. Maurice McNamee, S.J., chairman of the fine arts committee of St. Louis University, the board of aldermen changed the field to one of all red.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

This flag is known as the "3-Rivers" flag -- the coming together of the Missouri, Mississippi, and Illinois rivers at St Louis.
Keith Bakunas, 24 October 1999

The St. Louis city flag is occasionally flown in St. Louis County, although it has no legal status there. St. Louis City seceded from St. Louis County in 1876 and is now considered a separate Missouri county. There is at the moment, extremely modest sentiment here for rejoining the two in some fashion. This flag may possibly become a regional symbol in the future.
Christopher S. Johnson, 30 January 1999

Revised Code of the City of St. Louis, (Section 1.20.010)

"The design submitted by Professor Emeritus Theodore Sizer, Pursuivant of Arms at Yale University, and now on file in the office of the City register is approved, adopted and designated as the official flag of the City. The flag with a solid red background has two broad heraldic wavy bars, colored blue and white, extending from the left top and bottom corners toward left center where they join and continue as one to the center right edge. This symbolizes the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. Over the point of confluence a round golden disk upon which is the fleur-de-lis of France (blue) calling attention to the French background of the early city and more particularly to St. Louis of France for whom the City is named. The golden disk represents the City and/or the Louisiana Purchase. (Heraldically, the disk is a "bezant" or Byzantine coin signifying, money or simply purchase.)

The flag's colors recall those of Spain (red and yellow or gold), Bourbon France (white and gold), Napoleonic and Republican France (blue, white and red), and the United States of America (red, white, and blue)."
Thomas G. Pike, 3 April 2000


Variants of the flag

[flag of St. Louis, Missouri] image by Jorge Candeias and Tomislav Todorovic, 3 July 2016

The two wavy bars at the hoist are supposed to emerge from the very corners of the flag, but one or both of them seem to sometimes emerge from the edge(s), at a small distance from the corner. Also, the color of disc may vary somewhat to light yellow, but is usually as dark as gold. All of the above can be proven by the flag photos. Some of the best examples were (with dates taken):
2003-07-09
2003-10-30
2007-05-19
2008-09-08
2008-10-29
2009-01-17
2009-03-14
2011-06-25
2012-05-21
2013-03-03
2013-12-17 (image: 3.bp.blogspot.com)
2015 (image: danielshular.files.wordpress.com)

A variant of the flag also exists which is more oblong and where both bars at the hoist emerge from the edges, at a larger distance from the corners. Such flag is shown here. The flag was photographed in use:
2009-11-07
2012-09-28
2015-06-28

Still it seems that its design is not quite correct, for the other one appears more frequently, especially when hoisted together with the national and state flags, which suggest that the official design is supposed to have the bars emerging from the very corners.
Tomislav Todorovic, 3 July 2016


1916 Flag

[early 20th century flag of St. Louis, Missouri] image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 22 March 2010

The previous flag of St. Louis was designed by Edward A. Krondl in 1916; although it was apparently in use from that time, it was not made official until much later (either 1946 or 1950, according to conflicting reports). The flag is a horizontal tribar of equal red, white, and dark blue stripes. In each of the four corners of the field is a white five-pointed star. On the center of the field is a large blue shield, almost as broad at the base as it is at the top, outlined in white. On a field of 2 by 3 units, it measures 1 unit in width by 1.25 units in height. On the shield is a crowned St. Louis in profile toward the hoist, his right arm holding a cross aloft, astride a horse (right foreleg raised). The ground on which they stand is marked with a line, and below, centered, is a fleur-de-lis. The entire charge is white, detailed in dark blue.

The four stars represent St. Louis’s rank as the fourth largest city in the United States in 1916. By 1964 the eponymous figure on the shield seemed to many in the city inappropriate for the city’s flag, a sentiment that helped spur the adoption of a new flag.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Quoting the official website of the City of St. Louis:

"Apotheosis of St. Louis," the statue of Saint Louis, King Louis IX of France, was the original symbol of the City of St. Louis. The statue is located on Fine Arts Drive, at the top of Art Hill in Forest Park. The original plaster model of this statue was cast in 1903 by Charles H.Niehaus and stood at the main entrance to the 1904 World's Fair, where the History Museum now is located. [...]
The statue is of the Crusader King Louis IX of France, clad in 13th Century armor and depicted going into battle with an inverted sword symbolizing a cross. The statue is a symbol of the City of St. Louis. Pierre Laclede named the village he founded "Saint Louis" in April 1764 in honor of the reigning French King Louis XV, whose patron saint was Louis IX. [...]"

stlouis.missouri.org/citygov/parks/forestpark/history/statue.html
Ivan Sache, 3 April 2010

Flag of 1861

[1861 flag of St. Louis, Missouri] image by Rob Raeside, 4 October 1998

This is taken from The Civil War in St. Louis by William C. Winter:

The flag flying from the Berthold mansion was described in unflattering terms by one newspaper as "an ugly, doleful, uninspiring piece of cloth, consistent of a 'yaller' cross, crescent and star arranged in an angle in a deep indigo-blue field." Another newspaper described the flag's color as nearly black. A crescent was on one corner, a cross turned upside down occupied its center, and the other corner was occupied by a single star.
This flag only flew a day or two. Winter describes another flag raised over St. Louis at this time as an "'American ensign' with only one star and bearing the Missouri coat of arms."

Christopher Johnson, 6 October 1998


1904 World's Fair

[1904 World's Fair flag of St. Louis, Missouri]
Photo
image by Dave Martucci, 30 November 1999
    World's Fair 04 Flag
Image from Patent Drawing
image by Dave Martucci, 30 November 1999

This flag was used during the Fair held in St. Louis, Missouri in 1904. Called the "The Louisiana Purchase Exposition" the event was celebrated by a special flag. The information is from "The St. Louis World's Fair" by Margaret Johanson Witherspoon (St. Louis MO, The Folkstone Press, 1973, p.93).
Dave Martucci, 30 November 1999

Also noteworthy is that the first modern Olympic Games in the Western Hemisphere were held in St. Louis in 1904 in conjunction with and immediately adjacent to the Exposition.
Bob Hague, 22 July 2003

I have what appears to be a 1904 St. Louis world's fair flag approximately 6 foot long. It matches the flag of the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair flag shown here, except, it has white stars and ensign (instead of yellow) on a blue background.
Richard O'Keefe, 6 March 2007

The photo is of an actual flag plus the drawing from the Patent of the design. It would appear that the Fleur-de-Lys is an outline and that it and the stars are white. It would also appear that the stars all point upwards. A 3:5 Ratio appears correct. The design was patented 7 April 1903 by Walter B. Stevens and is Patent Number D036273. The text of the Patent document reads:

"United States Patent Office.
Walter B. Stevens, of St. Louis, Missouri, Assignor to Louisiana Purchase Exposition Company, a Corporation of Missouri.

Design for a Flag or Banner.
Specification forming part of Design No. 36,273, dated April 7, 1903.
Application filed February 14, 1903. Serial No. 143,457. Term of patent 3-1/2 years.

To all whom it may concern:
Be it known that I, Walter B. Stevens, a citizen of the United States, residing at the city of St. Louis, State of Missouri, have invented a new, original, and ornamental Design for a Flag or Banner, of which the following is a specification, reference being had to the accompanying drawing, forming a part hereof. This invention relates to a certain new and original design for flags and banners; and it consists in peculiar features and characteristics hereinafter described. The accompanying drawing illustrates an elevation of the design as a flag or banner. As shown in said drawing, the design consists of a field which is the full width of the flag and about one-third of its length. This field bears a fleur-de-lis centrally arranged, which is surrounded by an elliptical figure formed of stars. The remaining portion of the flag is divided into three equal horizontal stripes of a contrasting color.

Having thus described my invention, what I claim as new, and desire to secure by Letters Patent is --
The ornamental design for a flag or banner as herein shown and described.

In testimony whereof I have signed my name to this specification in the presence of two subscribing witnesses.
Walter B. Stevens.
Witnesses: Bissell Ware, N.S. Bracon."

The only difference I see between the patent and the actual flag is the stars are arranged in an "elliptical" manner which resembles an oval with the longer axis up and down in the drawing while the actual flag shows them in a circle. There are 14 of them in both.
Dave Martucci, 16 March 2011

See also:


St. Louis Hills

[St. Louis Hills, St. Louis, Missouri] image located by Valentin Poposki, 23 December 2007

St. Louis Hills is situated in the southwest area of the City of St. Louis, Missouri. The boundaries for the neighborhood are Hampton Avenue on the east and south, Chippewa Street for the north, and the River des Peres on the west. St. Louis Hills still holds distinction as the last, large subdivision created in the city.

The flag of the neighborhood is shown at stlouis.missouri.org/stlouishills/slhna.htm.
Valentin Poposki, 23 December 2007


Metropolitan Police Department flag

[Metropolitan Police Department flag] image by Randy Young, 20 August 2014

I found several photos on the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department's Facebook page showing images of the St. Louis PD flag (www.facebook.com). The flag of the Saint Louis Metropolitan Police Department features the department's shoulder patch centered on a white field (www.world-memorial.org). The patch itself is a light blue half-oval, evoking the iconic St. Louis Arch. The arch itself has a prominent place in the center of the patch, with the words "ST. LOUIS POLICE MISSOURI" in yellow along the outside of the arch. Beneath the arch is a scene showing a fleur-de-lis, a man on horseback, a river, and the rising or setting sun.
Randy Young, 20 August 2014