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Fresno, California (U.S)

Fresno County

Last modified: 2018-08-07 by rick wyatt
Keywords: fresno | california | fresno county |
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[flag of City of Fresno, California] 3:4 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.



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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

Fresno’s flag is a vertical tribar of equal brown, light blue, and light olive-green stripes. Centered on the brown stripe is a circular white gear, 24 teeth on a narrow white band facing outward. On the blue stripe is the compound leaf of the ash tree: in light olive-green, a long stem extending from near the center bottom and branching out to show two pairs of leaves culminating in a single leaf at top center. FRESNO appears in an Arial-type font in brown across the bottom of the center stripe, three letters on either side of the stem of the ash leaf. On the green stripe is a golden yellow sunburst, 24 short rays curved clockwise on a narrow white circular background, corresponding in size and position to the gear of the first stripe.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Symbolism

Brown represents the productive, fertile soil of the Central Valley of California. Light blue symbolizes the clear blue skies of Fresno’s year-round mild climate. Light olive-green (called “sunny green” by the city) is for the green fields and trees that abound in and around Fresno. The geared wheel of industry symbolizes Fresno’s status as the agribusiness leader of the nation, as well as the great industrial future of the city. The ash leaf recalls the source of the city’s name, the Spanish fresno (“ash tree”). The city’s name in brown reflects its agricultural heritage; the stem of the ash leaf grows out of, but does not divide, its namesake city. The sunburst denotes the giver of life to the fields and orchards that surround Fresno. It is also a reminder of the endless sunny days typical of the city. The white of the gear and sun’s field symbolizes the snow of the Sierra Nevada, from which the city derives its water.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Selection

In 1962, the Downtown Association of Fresno sponsored a contest open to the public to create a city flag with a prize of $250 to the winner. Judges for the contest included Mayor Arthur L. Selland; Edwin M. Eaton, President of the Fresno Historical Society; Councilman Paul G. Wasemiller; Floyd Hyde, President of the Fresno Arts Center; and Karney Hodge, President of the Downtown Association. Judging was based on design simplicity, inclusion of an appropriate theme, harmonization of colors, and artistic presentation. The contest received over 600 entries.
Flag adopted: 10 May 1962 (official).
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Designer

The winner of the $250 prize was Lanson H. Crawford, a local resident.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

More about the Flag

The Fresno City School District has developed a curriculum for elementary students that includes a detailed description of the flag and its symbolism, as well as two flags in outline that the students can color according to directions.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003