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Providence, Rhode Island (U.S.)

Providence County

Last modified: 2018-07-27 by rick wyatt
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[Flag of Providence, Rhode Island] 43:55

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

According to the latest ordinance of adoption of the flag of Providence:

The flag of the city shall be of silk and the color shall be dark blue. In the center of the flag there shall be a white circle thirty-six inches in diameter. The seal of the city shall be embroidered on or painted in natural colors in the said white circle. In general all lettering and numbering shall be in gold…. (Ordinance 1941, ch. 1058 & 14; Rev. Ordinances 1946, ch. 13 & 14.)
James Croft, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Symbolism

Another city ordinance gives the meaning of the city seal:
The blazon or description of figures on the city seal shall represent the historical story of the founding of the City of Providence in 1636. The Indians are standing on slate rock which is on a point of land covered with forest trees on the west bank of the Seekonk River. The Indians are extending friendly greetings, by raising their arms and crying out ‘WHAT CHEER, NETOP?’ to an approaching canoe which contains the early settlers, Roger Williams and his companions. Roger Williams, the founder of the City of Providence, and the State of Rhode Island, stands in the bow of the canoe and acknowledges the greetings of the friendly Indians by raising his right arm. (Ordinance of 1941, sec. 2-336.)
Although there is no official symbolism regarding the colors blue and white, in a 1920 newspaper article mentions the “adherence to the traditional ‘blue and white’ of colony and early Statehood days”. NETOP is omitted on the seal.
James Croft, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Selection

A city council committee solicited designs.
Flag adopted: 9 April 1915 (official).
James Croft, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Designer

Alderman E. Merle Bixby.
James Croft, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

More about the Flag

In a photograph in the Providence Sunday Journal of 19 December 1920, the seal on the city flag has PROVIDENCE on the top section of the seal and the numerals 1636 below it. There is a ring of gold encircling the seal and the scene of the Indians greeting Roger Williams and his companions is within the inner circle, without the shield. It also has a different artistic rendition of this historical encounter.

Today the flag has the correct seal on the flag, as described in the ordinance of 1941. The scene showing Roger William’s arrival at the site of Providence is on a shield in the center of the seal and a circle of rope surrounds the shield. The outer circumference of the seal is saw-toothed. The wording, SEAL OF THE CITY OF PROVIDENCE, is along the top of the seal and in smaller lettering is FOUNDED 1636 above INCORPORATED 1832 at the bottom the seal. Two stars separate the upper and lower inscriptions.

The flag came about when Alderman Bixby noticed the color company in a Providence police force parade carrying the United States flag and the Rhode Island state flag, but not a city flag. He brought the matter to the attention of the city council in 1914. A committee then solicited designs but found none acceptable. The committee then asked Alderman Bixby to create a design, which it adopted in 1915.
James Croft, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003


Detail of seal and shield

[Flag of Providence, Rhode Island]     [Flag of Providence, Rhode Island]
images by António Martins-Tuválkin, 13 May 2008


Providence City Council

The Providence City Council has its own flag. It is white with two narrow dark blue stripes, one at the top and one at the bottom of the flag (the blue stripes represent the old Providence Plantations, which ran in narrow strips of land from the river). In the center is a dark blue disk with the seal of the Providence City Council embroidered or painted on it in gold. Encircling the seal are 15 gold stars, one for each ward of the city. 
James Croft, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003


Rhode Island Capitol Police

[Flag of Rhode Island Capitol Police, Rhode Island] image by Randy Young, 12 June 2014

Established in 1974 by the Rhode Island legislature, the Rhode Island Capitol Police is a uniformed security force, part of the Department of Public Safety, charged with providing security for state buildings and grounds and the employees who work within those buildings. The flag of the Rhode Island Capitol Police, as seen in photographs at www.dps.ri.gov/gallery/ (www.dps.ri.gov/img/content/capitolpolice/honorguard_sm.jpg), consists of the Capitol Police badge displayed against a dark grey field.
Randy Young, 12 June 2014