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Des Moines, Iowa (U.S.)

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[Flag of Des Moines, Iowa] 1:2 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

The flag of Des Moines has a dark blue field with a red trapezoid at the hoist, its top not quite 3 times the width of its base. On a field of 12:24 units, the trapezoidís top would be 5.5 units and its base 2.3 units. Three arched bridges in white, each 2.7 units high, extend from the trapezoid to the fly edge, with one unit between each, and at top and bottom. They also increase in width from top to bottom, such that although each has 3 complete arches, a fourth arch is only partially shown, each progressively a bit wider. The arches of the top and center bridges are staggered over the bridge below it parallel to the trapezoid.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Symbolism

The three bridges represent the row of bridges across the Des Moines River, easily recognized landmarks of the city that unify the east and west sections of the city. The colors of the flag recall those of the United States flag.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Selection

At the suggestion of seventh-grade students from Callanan Junior High School that the city adopt a flag, the Greater Des Moines Chamber of Commerce conducted a contest during March 1974. There were 383 entries from residents ranging from three months old to octogenarians.
Flag adopted: 15 April 1974 (official).
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Designer

The contest winner was Walter T. Proctor, editor, publisher, and founder of American Host, a hotel-motel-resort industry magazine.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

More about the Flag

The first official flag-raising ceremony for the new city flag was held on 31 March 1975, nearly a year after the flag was adopted. Proctor received a framed letter of appreciation from the Des Moines City Council, a certificate from the chamber of commerce, and a framed facsimile of the finished flag design.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

The flag was retired after the products of the production run had all been worn out in the 1990s.
"Blue VanGogh", 6 June 2002

The three white bridges represent the Walnut, Locust, and Grand bridges in downtown Des Moines. The flag was first raised at City Hall on March 31, 1975. The flag still flies every day at the Des Moines City Hall and at many city facilities across the metro area. It may be flown anywhere the American flag is flown, on the same pole, but must be smaller than the American flag.
Source: www.ci.des-moines.ia.us/departments/ac/information/walter_proctor.htm
António Martins-Tuválkin, 24 May 2004