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Pennsylvania - Proposals to change the flag (U.S.)

Last modified: 2023-04-08 by rick wyatt
Keywords: pennsylvania |
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2006 proposals to add the state name

Rep. Tim Solobay has introduced legislation in the Pennsylvania legislature would add the name of the state in gold silk embroidery to the state flag. Currently, the state flag has nothing on it to identify it as being from Pennsylvania. An opportunity to vote on a choice exists at
Al Kirsch, 22 September 2006

There are currently nine designs submitted to an electronic survey. When not specified, words and numbers are placed horizontally:

  1. PENNSYLVANIA in gold below the coat of arms.
  2. PENNSYLVANIA in white (bigger than one the gold version) below the coat of arms.
  3. Same as #1 with COMMONWEALTH OF added in gold in an arched pattern above the coat of arms.
  4. Same as #1 with COMMONWEALTH OF added in gold above the coat of arms.
  5. COMMONWEALTH OF added in white along the top of the flag, PENNSYLVANIA added in white in a vertical pattern along the fly of the flag.
  6. Same as #3 with PENNSYLVANIA in an arched pattern.
  7. PENNSYLVANIA added in gold above the coat of arms, 1787 added in gold below the coat of arms.
  8. PENNSYLVANIA in gold in an arched patters above the coat of arms.
  9. Same as #8 with 1787 added below the coat of arms.
Ivan Sache, 29 September 2006

NAVA has a Yahoo group and we've been dealing with this for a bit, including writing to the politician, who has not yet responded. Folks here can join that group easily enough and follow the thread. We've created a number of proposals, for whatever good it will do.
Albert S. Kirsch, 29 September 2006

On 12 June 2007, the AP agency reported: "Pennsylvania's state flag might soon become more recognizable under legislation that passed the state House yesterday. The chamber voted, 164-31, to add the words Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in yellow silk block letters to the blue banner. Backers said about half the states already include their names on their flags. [...)"
Ivan Sache, 3 July 2007

A bill proposing to change the state of Pennsylvania passed the state House on 11 June 2007. The change is indeed the addition of the words "Commonwealth of" above the coat of arms and "Pennsylvania" below it. The bill is currently being considered by the state Senate.
Ivan Sache, 21 October 2007

I did some digging through old legislation and discovered that while 2007 is the only time legislation changing the flag passed either chamber of the General Assembly, there were two different efforts to have the word "Pennsylvania" added to the flag spanning 2004-2014 from both Rep. Tim Solobay and Rep. Gary Haluska - the two different efforts ran simultaneously in the 2009-2010 session! I added this information to the flag's Wikipedia page, along with citations and visual interpretations of the flag proposals based on text from the bills - I still have the .svg files and can create .gif files of any deemed important enough to be added to the page.
Tara Stark, 18 September 2022

2004-2007 Proposals

images by Tara Stark, 18 September 2022

2004-2007 Proposal, adding "the word 'Pennsylvania' to be embroidered upon the flag in yellow silk."
Tara Stark, 18 September 2022

2007-2010 Proposal

image by Tara Stark, 18 September 2022

2007-2010 Proposal, adding the words "Commonwealth Of" to the top and "Pennsylvania" to the bottom of the flag in yellow silk, and arching the lettering around the Coat of Arms
Tara Stark, 18 September 2022

2009-2014 Proposal

image by Tara Stark, 18 September 2022

2009-2014 Proposal, adding the word "Pennsylvania" in yellow silk "centered within a symmetrical red festoon, similar to that containing the State motto; and the festoon to be centered above the bald eagle on the coat of arms."
Tara Stark, 18 September 2022

Keystone Flag proposal

image by Tara Stark, 7 March 2023

This proposal for Pennsylvania is starting to see popular use (including support from at least one legislator).

The "Keystone Flag" is a proposed flag for Pennsylvania created by Tara Stark (a Pennsylvania resident) in 2017. The flag incorporates the keystone (a symbol already used in official capacities by the Pennsylvania National Guard and departments within the Government of Pennsylvania) into a tricolor design using the colors on the coat of arms of Pennsylvania.

The three colors (green, gold, and Old Glory blue) carry the same symbolism as the element's coat of arms, including elements outside the escutcheon.

It was overwhelmingly voted the best design out of over 500 entered into a 2019 redesign study conducted by a popular state flag design group on Facebook. In 2022, a Kickstarter to produce the flag (as well as pins and patches) in bulk raised over $4500. Since then, the flag has begun to see more popular use across and outside of Pennsylvania.

Examples of popular use:
On a state legislator's lapel
From a house in Central PA
From a Pennsylvanian's dorm room in Virginia
A rainbow/Pride/progress Pride variant
On a Philadelphia journalist's lapel
From a house in Lower Allen, PA
At a community event in Harrisburg, PA (that's me carrying it) (link to full photoset here)
On a TV guest's lapel (Stephen Caruso, featured in 1st/2nd segments of this episode)
In the background of the set of Flagged For Content (flag podcast) from episode 21 onward

The Keystone Flag is also being sold by several outlets that are not me:
Flags for Good (also selling Pride variant)
KiwiVexArt (via etsy)
Enzwell Designs (via FineArtAmerica, Redbubble, and society6)

Other fun facts:
   Though most commonly rendered at a 3:5 ratio, there is no single prescribed ratio, and proportions can range anywhere from 2:3 to 1:2. In those cases, rather than extending the blue/green panels and treating the Keystone as a charge, the Keystone should stretch along with the flag's overall proportions like a stripe in a tricolor would.
   The original design was created in 2017 with a differently shaped Keystone and a shade of blue closer to UN blue. Over the course of the 2019 study/contest mentioned above, the shape of the keystone changed for recognizability in changing winds, and the shade of blue changed from UN-esque to Old Glory-esque to both increase contrast and symbolically connect the Keystone Flag to the US flag. (Aside minor technical changes to exact color shades, the design has otherwise been consistent since then.)

Tara Stark, 7 March 2023

Keystone Pride Flag

image by Tara Stark, 7 March 2023