Last modified: 2020-06-20 by rick wyatt
Keywords: androscoggin county | maine |
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image located by Michael C. Lord, 15 April 2020
- indicates flag is known.
- indicates it is reported that there is no known flag.
Municipal flags in Androscoggin County:
It is now verified that Androscoggin County Maine has no designated flag. I received a response to the contrary to my earliest inquiry from the commissioner's office but that was a misinterpretation. The clerk's office and another commissioner have explained "no flag", and that the county has never had one.
John S. Johnson, 19 September 2011
This is a proposal for a flag for Androscoggin County, Maine. First, a
note on Androscoggin County’s seal: In doing research at the Androscoggin
Historical Society, I found a document appointing the county’s first
treasurer dated 1854 that had the original, classic seal depicting the
cougar. In further research done by Doug Hodgkin and Pat Fournier, I find
that this original seal has never been officially changed. It is this seal
that I propose for this flag.
Design: The flag shall be of a plain background with the county’s seal proportionally in the center. It is to be double-sided; it shall be properly viewable from both sides. (Some, but not most, flags are one-sided or have different designs on each side; I wish to avoid this.)
Ratio: Surprisingly, the most challenging part of making this design has been the ratio. I found that the official ratio for the U.S. flag is 1:1.9, although as a practical matter, including for flags flown over the U.S. capitol, other ratios are used, such as 1:1.5 or 1: 1.667. For the Maine state flag, the official “ratio” is 4’4” by 5’6”, however there are few if any flags in Maine that follow this legal dimension. Most follow the ratio of 1:1.667 or 1:1.5, like the U.S. flag. The city of Auburn flag is officially 3’x5’ – for a ratio of 1:1.667.
The ratio for the Androscoggin County flag I propose to be the Golden Section, where the length plus the width, multiplied by the width equals the square of the length. L2=W (L+W) This works out to be a ratio of 1:1.618. However, if this is impractical, then a ratio of 1:1.667, which would be close to the Golden Section, and would be expressed for example by a simple 3’x5’ flag, would be acceptable.
Color: The color of the flag shall be Verde (V) ++ from the Flags of the World color palette. This is dark green. I chose this in part because many flags already have blue, and this flag should be different. The color of the seal in the center shall be Oro (Au), again from the FOTW color palette. This is gold. There could be an optional fringe of the same color.
Fabric: The fabric of the flag shall be anything appropriate, which as a practical matter may often mean nylon, especially for outdoor use, but could be almost any fabric.
Michael C. Lord, former Executive Secretary of the Androscoggin Historical Society for 12 ½ years, 1996 – 2009
6 February 2020
A query was then sent to Michael C. Lord to ask if the flag had yet been adopted and received the following reply:
A little history: The seal on the website is the old one from about ten years ago and has not yet been updated on the net. Boring building is it not? The cougar seal is the original from the county's founding in 1854. We went back to it as more historically accurate, and also used it on the new flag. The flag has indeed been approved and is now official.
Michael C. Lord
Expert says cougar on Androscoggin County flag not historically accurate
Commission adopts animal for its seal and flag, believing it was on the original 1854 image.
Earlier this year, Androscoggin County unveiled its new county flag — green background with the seal in gold. The centerpiece of the seal is a cougar— one with three legs. Is the cougar historically accurate? Depends who you ask.Auburn resident Michael Lord approached the county commission late last year with the idea that the county should create a flag to coincide with Auburn’s 150th birthday and this year’s Maine bicentennial celebration. Lord did the legwork and found an embossed stamp that the county treasurer used in 1854 that shows a non-descript creature standing next to water. The new version of the seal showing a cat-like animal is imprinted on a bronze plaque that is located near the entrance of the county building celebrating the 1922 expansion. Over the years the animal has been described as a panther, lioness and bobcat before the cougar was accepted. When that happened is unclear. In fact, the commissioners accepted Lord’s description of a cougar. When Lord brought the project to a flag store, the seal was changed to look like a real cougar.
But in a guest column to the Sun Journal last month, David Martucci of Washington, Maine, a vexillologist, a person who studies flags, called the cougar story a “myth.” He said the original drawing is actually a horse. In 2010, while studying Maine flags and symbols, he visited the Androscoggin County Courthouse and was given a 1¾-inch image of the original embossed stamp. “No one really knew what it was,” Martucci said. “The image was fairly small, but when I scanned it and blew it up, I knew exactly what it was.” He believed he was looking at a crudely-drawn picture of a draft horse with a mane and hooves. He checked with several other vexillologists around the country and each one agreed with him, Martucci said. One county commissioner, Matt Roy, questioned Martucci’s description of hooves on the original picture, but Martucci said the hooves are obvious when you blow up the image. The existence of a mane on the animal, however, is compelling. Martucci said designers of logos in the 1800s were careful to select images that correctly reflected the culture and geography of the area. When Androscoggin County was formed in 1854, it was known for its fertile farmland, he said. The image of a draft horse makes sense in that context, he added.
One other thing bothers Martucci — the absence of water on the seal. The original embossed stamp looks like the “horse” is standing next to water — the Androscoggin River. For a county named after its river, he says it is inconceivable for the seal to not include that river. The water feature was removed from the 1922 bronze plaque, which the new flag is based on.
Martucci gave county commissioners a copy of his report in 2010 with his findings. Instead of acknowledging the horse instead of the cougar, commissioners instead changed the seal to include a picture of the courthouse in Auburn. The current commissioners, unfamiliar with even the building seal, agreed to put the cougar back on the seal and the new flag. At the meeting, Commissioner Roy described himself as “pro cougar and anti building.”
Michael C. Lord, 15 April 2020
About ten years ago I went to the Courthouse in Androscoggin County and
researched the seal. I gave them a report. It isn’t a cougar. Or a cat of any
kind. Given the history of the County and what I see in the image, there is no
doubt that the animal on the seal is a [poor] representation of a draft horse.
Founded by farmers in 1857, the draft horse would have been a very appropriate
symbol for this county. Note the horse is walking along the banks of the
Androscoggin River, the county’s namesake.
At that time I also submitted a flag proposal based on the seal. On a white field, it depicts a draft horse on a green band representing the bank of the river above a blue band representing the river. The County Clerk at that time was hot to have the seal changed to an image of the Court House. Too bad she did not pass my information on to Mr. Lord.
Dave Martucci, 27 February 2020