Last modified: 2021-05-01 by rick wyatt
Keywords: colorado | united states |
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image by Clay Moss, 9 August 2007
In 1877, a star was added, representing Colorado, bringing the total number of stars on the U.S. flag to 38. There were thirteen stripes representing the thirteen original colonies.
The state flag was adopted on June 5, 1911 by an act of the General Assembly. The flag consists of three alternate stripes of equal width and at right angles to the staff, the two outer stripes to be blue of the same color as in the blue field of the national flag and the middle stripe to be white, the proportion of the flag being a width of two-thirds of its length. At a distance from the staff end of the flag of one fifth of the total length of the flag there is a circular red C, of the same color as the red in the national flag of the United States. The diameter of the letter is two-thirds of the width of the flag. The inner line of the opening of the letter C is three-fourths of the width of its body or bar, and the outer line of the opening is double the length of the inner line thereof. Completely filling the open space inside the letter C is a golden disk, attached to the flag is a cord of gold and silver, intertwined, with tassels, one of gold and one of silver.
The colors used in the state's flag are symbolic of certain geographical features of the state. The gold stands for the abundant sunshine that Colorado enjoys. The white symbolizes our snowcapped mountains. The blue stands for the clear blue skies in Colorado while the red represents the ruddy color of much of our state's earth. The flag was originally designed by Andrew Carlisle Johnson in 1911. The precise colors of red and blue were not designated in the 1911 legislation and some controversy arose over these colors. On February 28, 1929, the General Assembly stipulated the precise colors of red and blue as the same as the national flag. Controversy also arose over the size of the letter C and on March 31, 1964, the General Assembly further modified the 1911 legislation by revising the distance from the staff for the letter C and its diameter. Citations: Senate Bill 118, 1911; Senate Bill 152, 1929; Senate Bill , 1964.
Chris Young, 2 August 1999
image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 27 March 2018
This illustration is of Colorado's flag with the letter "C" centered on the flag. In the September 1934 National Geographic, there is a picture of all of the then 48 U.S. state flags taken in Richmond, Virginia. Colorado's "C" in the photograph is centered. In more recent times, I have also personally seen a Colorado state flag with a centered "C", some 20 years ago in Limon, Colorado at a Rotary or Lion's Club hall. The flag was 3x5 feet, cotton, and was professionally manufactured even though it had no label.
Clay Moss, 22 August 2007
image by Jaume Ollé, 25 January 2001
If I understand correctly this was an (unofficial?) Colorado State flag 1907-1911.
Jaume Ollé, 25 January 2001
According to Whitney Smith (Flag Book of the U.S., 1975, page 72) -- and he admits his is a reconstruction -- the flag had the seal you show but directly on a blue background; no white circle and no word "Colorado" above.
Al Kirsch, 25 January 2001
This reconstruction is wrong--the law does not mention a white disk, the sky in the chief of the arms is supposed to be red according to the 1861 law establishing the arms and seal, and there should be no tricolored strip separating the gold field and the chief of the arms.
Joe McMillan, 28 December 2011
"...Upon arriving in Harlem, we saw the Apollo Theater and Hotel St. Theresa and were able to take better pictures than the previous day on the bus. After a long walk up a steep inclined sidewalk, we arrived at Riverside Park and Grant's Tomb. Located within the park was Grant's Tomb. This national memorial was noteworthy. Inside the memorial building were the caskets of both President Grant and his wife, Julia Grant. The domed building also contained Federalist Civil War flags which were flown under Grant's command and a Colorado 1876 flag. This flag was included in the collection because Colorado was admitted as the Centennial State while Grant was president...."
Valentin Poposki, 28 December 2011
Following the US Civil War, in the absence of any official flag or flag tradition, a blue flag with the arms (sometimes the seal) of the state was often unofficially used, and these types of designs were used in a number of different places, such as on cigar cards, etc. In addition, mid- to late-nineteenth century State militias often carried such colors alongside a variant of the Stars and Stripes.
Having said that, it is also the case today that some ignorant manufacturers stamp the State seal on a blue flag and try to pass it off as some kind of "official" banner or flag. I have seen this before. I do not think this is a particularly accurate rendition of a Colorado flag from 1876, if such it is claimed to be. Is the dating based on the flag itself (remembering the State of Colorado was admitted to the Union in 1876) or on some description not given to us?
If you were to eliminate the red band circling the arms and all associated filigree and lettering, leaving just the arms, you'd have a close version of the types of Regimental flags used in the first State Militia of Colorado in 1876.
Dave Martucci, 28 December 2011
image by Clay Moss, 9 August 2007
Originally adopted in 1911, the law could be interpreted to mean that the red "C" was to be the size of the central white stripe. I have seen some illustrations showing the flag this way. In 1964 the law was corrected to make the central yellow disk the size of the white stripe and the "C" much larger like it was supposed to be.
Nick Artimovich, 31 July 1996
image by Joe McMillan, 21 April 2000
The state military crest, which is the crest used in the coats of arms of units of the National Guard, as granted by the precursor organizations of what is now the Army Institute of Heraldry. The official Institute of Heraldry blazon is
"A fasces paleways proper with ribbon of red, white, and blue."
Joe McMillan, 21 April 2000