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Grand Rapids, Michigan (U.S.)

Kent County

Last modified: 2018-07-27 by rick wyatt
Keywords: grand rapids | michigan | kent county | furniture city |
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[Flag of Grand Rapids, Michigan] 2:3 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.



See also:


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 Grand Rapids is a vertical tribar of equal dark blue, white, and dark blue stripes. Centered on the white stripe is the city seal, consisting of a white field bordered by two concentric circles of dark blue dots, forming solid rings. On a field of 2 units by 3, the seal is about 1 unit in diameter. In the ring, curved over the top clockwise from 9 o'clock to 3 o'clock is CITY OF GRAND RAPIDS MICH. in dark blue. Curved below from 7 to 5 o'clock counterclockwise is the Latin motto, MOTU VIGET. ("Strength in Activity"). In the center of the seal is a bald eagle, in flight toward the hoist, bearing an American shield, and clutching several arrows, all in dark blue and white. Centered over the eagle are Scales of Justice, held by a hand reaching down from the clouds, all in dark blue and white. Nine separate "bundles" of three gray rays each are spaced evenly behind the eagle and scales, emanating outward from a baseline that forms the horizontal midpoint of the seal. Centered below the eagle, resting on the inner beaded ring, is 1850 in dark blue.
John M Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Symbolism

The seal suggests that divine justice guides the American spirit. The rays represent light. The seal was adopted in 1850.
John M Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Selection

Joseph Penney, a member of the common council in 1850, suggested the design of the seal. Adopted: 26 July 1915 (official).
John M Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Designer

Aaron B. Turner, the city clerk in 1850, designed the seal. The designer of the flag is not known.
John M Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

More about the Flag

From the official city website, www.grand-rapids.mi.us/:

"The Grand Rapids City Seal was designed and engraved by Aaron Turner, the City Clerk in 1850. The motto, "Motu Viget," means "strength in activity." Officially adopted by the City Council on June 25, 1850, the seal depicts a hand reaching down from the clouds holding the scales of justice. Centered on the seal is the American Eagle protected by a shield. At the eagle's feet are the points of arrows."
Ned Smith, 22 February 2008


Logo Flag

[Flag of Grand Rapids, Michigan] image by Pascal Gross, 6 March 2002

A blue flag with a central device comprising a ring of yellow disk overlain by an irregular red shape, and a broad blue wavy line across it.
Dov Gutterman, 6 March 2002

Grand Rapids uses a "city banner" more often than the official flag. The Grand Rapids banner has a field of blue with the city's logo in the center. The logo is oval, wider than high, and measures about 1.5 units across its horizontal center on a field of 2 by 3 units. The field of the logo is yellow, representing the sun. Across the lower third of the field is a narrow, blue undulating stripe representing the Grand River that courses through the city. Resting on this stripe is a horizontal figure, .5 units at its widest and slightly more than a unit in length, that begins about one-fourth of the way from the oval's hoist edge and extends to its fly edge. The figure represents the Alexander Calder sculpture in the city, La Grande Vitesse, which on the logo resembles a large chess pawn lying on its side. The logo was designed by Joseph Kennebrew, a sculptor and painter.
John M Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

The logo flag is seen more these days than the official flag.
John Purcell, 22 July 2004


Former flag

[Flag of Grand Rapids, Michigan] image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 17 August 2017

The former flag of the City of Grand Rapids, Michigan, was adopted 09.03.1896.
Valentin Poposki, 24 June 2012

It is a rectangular flag, maybe 3:5, white with a broad darkest blue horizontal stripe, apparently taking 1/3rd of the flag's height; on each of the white stripes, at the hoist, a dark red trapeze filling the flag corners and extending off the hoist along the edges ~9/14ths of the flag's height and only ~4/9ths at their shortest base, these trapezes separated from the blue stripe by a narrow (white) gap.

On the blue stripe the words "Furniture City" set in golden serifless capitals with thick white fimbriations. On each of the two red trapezes, the same facade view of a local factory, with a pointy pediment, two smoking chimneys, and rows of windows in two stories, all in white with golden details. The original image shows a golden fringe along all three free edges, as well as a golden flag staff and a golden cord with a tassel, but I think that it is not integral to the design. I think it is (was!) an interesting design, passible of simplification for a good vexillographic result.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 17 August 2017