The History of the Cleveland City Flag

Steve DiMatteo

Cleveland City Flag

Did you know the city of Cleveland has its own flag?

That's right, that flag you see around town, flying next to the United States flag and Ohio state flag at Progressive Field, is the official flag for Cleveland. Major cities all around the United States feature their own flags, though most cities don't do nearly enough with them.

And judging by the unique designs of these city flags around the country, it sure seems like Cleveland's flag could be due for an upgrade.

But first, let's look at the history of the Cleveland city flag.

The Design of Cleveland's City Flag

Cleveland's official representative flag was design in 1895 by Susan Hepburn, who was a Cleveland high school student at the time. 

Just like Ohio and the nation at large, Cleveland's flag was designed with a red, white, and blue color scheme, with three vertical lines featuring each main color. The color scheme was certainly intentional, meant to invoke patriotism, along with the American shield symbol that sits in the middle of the flag's design. The word "Cleveland" sits across the middle of the symbol, along with the year 1796, and Cleveland's motto - Progress and Prosperity - across the bottom. 

Interestingly enough, the motto wasn't added to the flag's design until the 1960s, so it's not like updating the design is a completely foreign concept to the city.

As for the other symbols on Cleveland's flag, the anvil, hammer, and wheel represent the city's industrial roots. The anchor, windlass, and oars represent Cleveland's heavy maritime connections as a major Great Lakes port.

Cleveland's flag was officially accepted in 1896, the year of the city's centennial. Not much has changed with the flag since then - it's time to open things back up to the region's high school students to see who can take this thing into the 21st century.

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