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Spokane, Washington (U.S.)

Spokane County

Last modified: 2019-04-28 by rick wyatt
Keywords: spokane | washington | spokane county |
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[Flag of Spokane, Washington] 3:5 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.


The field of Spokane’s flag is white. On a flag of 3 units by 5, two adjacent diagonal stripes each .6 units wide extend from the top of the hoist to the bottom edge of the flag. The stripe nearest the hoist is chartreuse; its hoist edge touches the bottom of the field roughly three units from the hoist. The second stripe is aqua. These two colors appeared the year before in the flag of Spokane’s Expo ’74 (an international exposition). Superimposed on the center of the stripes is a circular device, about 1.5 units in diameter, starting at the mid-point of the chartreuse stripe, and extending an equal distance beyond the aqua stripe. The circle is bordered by a narrow black ring; its field is also white. Along the bottom of the circle’s field, but not touching the black ring, are silhouettes of four children in black, standing in a row with their hands clasped. The children on either end have their free hands raised. Above them and to the left is CHILDREN OF with THE SUN centered immediately below, all in small black letters. Overlapping the upper right side of the circle is a gold sun .7 units in diameter with some 30 short, pointed rays. Centered in the lower third of the fly portion beyond the stripes is CITY OF SPOKANE in black.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003


Spokane means “Children of the Sun”, or the “Sun People”, in the language of the Spokane tribe, from which the city derives its name.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003


By the city council.
Flag adopted: 6 October 1975 (official).
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003


Lloyd L. Carson, art director for the DeVine, Miller, Carlson, and Donaldson Advertising Company.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

More about the Flag

Chartreuse is extremely rare in flags, especially in combination with another uncommon color, aqua, making this flag very unusual.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Reverse of the flag

[Flag of Spokane, Washington] image located by Valentin Poposki, 15 April 2012

Although only in black and white, this images shows how the mirroring is achieved. Image from 1978.

1958 Flag

[Flag of Spokane, Washington] image located by Valentin Poposki, 15 April 2012

According to, the flag was [mainly] lilac colored. Not surprising since the flag proclaims Spokane as "The Lilac City".
Ned Smith, 22 July 2012

The earlier flag of Spokane is also remarkable for its unusual colors. The field of this flag is lilac on which is centered a solid skyline behind a bridge with an arch below it, all in white. White ripples shaded in blue suggesting the water run below the bridge. Curved along the hoist skyline and extending about one-fourth of the way across the bridge is a spray of lilacs, highlighted in white and blue. Above and behind the skyline is the suggestion, in white, of a mountain peak.

From each of the field’s four corners, a white line extends about halfway toward the central figure. Each of the divisions thus formed has a figure centered on it. On the hoist side is an evergreen tree in blue and shaded in white. Above is a gold sun, depicted as the Native Americans might, with three lines extending from each of the sun’s four sides, each center ray slightly larger than the other two. On the fly side is a white five-pointed star. Below, in stylized white script pierced by a white arrow in the direction of the hoist, is Spokane. Centered below, in smaller white letters, is THE LILAC CITY. The flag’s proportions varied in use between 3:4 and 5:7. The flag was officially adopted 25 July 1958. It was designed by S. Luther Essick, who had become convinced of the value of a city flag when working in displaced persons camps in Vienna after World War II. He was impressed by how much it meant to the Viennese to once again fly their city flag. The chamber of commerce and representatives of the city’s Lilac Festival helped persuade the city council to adopt the flag.

The flag is replete with symbolism. According to a city brochure,

The lilac color and the flower represent Spokane as the “Lilac City” and her position as the “Queen City of the Inland Empire”. The buildings represent planned progress. The bridge symbolizes Monroe Street Bridge and Falls, important local landmarks. The white star stands for loyalty to the state of Washington. The mountain peak is Mount Spokane, part of the city’s scenic beauty and historic legend. Both the gold sun of Native American design and the name of the city pierced by an arrow reflect the origin of the city’s name, “Children of the Sun”. The evergreen (Douglas fir), Washington’s state tree, indicates the city’s connection with the state. The white lines represent the city’s basic freedoms, focused on Spokane. White represents purity of purpose; blue, trueness and loyalty; and lilac, the city’s royal heritage.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

1912 Flag

[Flag of Spokane, Washington] image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 27 May 2008
Based on an image at

This flag is shown on an old postcard from 1912, so I presumed this is the old city flag. The post card was in a book called Vintage Postcards from Old Spokane. Written by Duane Broyles and Howard Ness.
Valentin Poposki, 28 July 2006

The source address at is now defunct but at is information about the book. It is a dark blue ~6:11 flag with a narrow white horizontal mid-stripe and a narrow white hoist pentagon (i.e., joint vertical stripe and triangle) and on the latter a golden yellow 16-rayed sun (with long collateral and longitudinal tips, and longer axial tips) charged with a thick blue sans-serif upper case "S".
António Martins-Tuválkin, 27 May 2008

2019 New Flag Proposal

[Flag of Spokane, Washington] image by Max Nesbitt, 28 March 2019

I've been living with knowledge of our current municipal flag, which I've always found lacking. A friend of mine who's studying to be a professional graphic artist put together a flag, which I edited and presented to the Spokane City Council at a recent public forum. There are actual chances that we'll change the flag within the year. I'm speaking to a councilwoman about sponsoring a change next month.

The main design elements of the flag, namely around the gold-yellow elements, are intended to recognize the natural elements of the city, that is the river and the sun. The purple is an element recognizing that Spokane is the Lilac City, and the shades of purple note the city on the river, the surrounding rural area, and (inside the sun) a shade of blue-purple for the native tribe of the Spokane, the authentic children of the sun.
Max Nesbitt, 28 March 2019