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Pierre, South Dakota (U.S.)

Hughes County

Last modified: 2018-08-02 by rick wyatt
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[Flag of Pierre, South Dakota] 9:16 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

Pierre’s flag has a white field with a large city seal in color in the center. On a field of 9 by 16 units, the diameter of the seal is 7.3 units. The outside edge of the seal, in gold, is beveled. Within it is a gold concentric beaded circle with a diameter of 5 units. The ring between the two circles is green. At 3 and 9 o’clock is a gold six-pointed star, with green shading to make it appear three-dimensional. Curved clockwise around the top part of the ring is CITY OF PIERRE, curved below, counterclockwise, in slightly smaller letters, is INCORPORATED 1883, all in gold. The central field of the seal shows a Missouri River scene from the early days of Pierre. The blue river runs across approximately the lower third of the field. Steaming from the hoist side is an old-fashioned flatbed steamboat, gray and white with black markings, its two smokestacks sending smoke toward the hoist. In small black letters on the starboard side of the boat is MISSOURI. The remainder of the seal shows a green plain with dark green hills in the background. A gold sun sets behind the hills, its gold rays extending into the blue sky and reflecting on the surface of the river. In the center foreground are three sheaves of wheat in gold. Approaching the center from the fly is an old gray steam locomotive and coal tender, smoke from its smokestack flowing toward the fly. A small white 83 is on the side of the locomotive, and PIERRE appears in miniature letters on the coal tender.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Symbolism

The city describes the symbolism:
We can only assume that the sunset over the hills depicts the city of Pierre being the gateway to the west. Pierre sits directly on the east shore of the Missouri River, the hills being the rolling hills of the west river terrain. The shocks of grain and grasslands are representative of the agricultural economy of our state and community. Pierre and Ft. Pierre were a trade center and gathering place for the early trappers and settlers to meet and trade with the Native Americans. The train and riverboat are symbolic of a growing and moving mechanization of the west. The river in the foreground is the Missouri River that was and is an integral part of Pierre’s quality of life.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Selection

Mayor Grace Petersen decided the city should have a new flag, and city hall personnel concurred that it should be the newly colored seal on white. The seal, uncolored, had been adopted officially on 12 April 1883. On 22 August 1989, the city commissioners adopted colors for the seal. A local artist, John G. Moisan, was commissioned to paint the seal as specified. Upon the seal’s completion, the flag was developed (apparently also in 1989).
Flag adopted: 1989 (unofficial).
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Designer

The name of the seal’s original designer is not available. Mayor Petersen and staff designed the flag using John Moisan’s colored seal.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

More about the Flag

The seal on the flag is less striking than the colored seal Moisan created. The flag manufacturers did not reproduce all the details of the seal accurately, and so the seal on the flag is an approximation of the original. For example, Moisan’s seal shows the locomotive and coal tender as black, but they appear on the flag as gray, and the lettering around the seal is smaller and in a different font from that on the flag.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003


1937 flag

[Flag of Pierre, South Dakota] 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.

Pierre’s earlier flag was officially adopted on 25 May 1937. That flag, designed by Henry M. Reed of Pierre, has a green field with a scarlet border. Its proportions are 2:3. In the center in white is a three-dimensional front view of the state capitol. Centered and arched over the capitol is PIERRE, and curved below, slightly smaller, is THE CAPITAL CITY, all in white. In the upper hoist corner is a small 48-star United States flag; in the lower hoist corner, a small French flag. The upper fly corner has a small British flag, and the lower fly corner a former Spanish merchant flag. All flags are in the correct colors. The four miniature flags were sometimes omitted when the flag was mass-produced.

The green of the field symbolizes Pierre’s parks and lawns; the scarlet is for the Native American heritage surrounding the area. The capitol marks Pierre’s status as the state capital. The miniature flags on the four corners represent the four nations that have claimed the area. John Cabot claimed the entire continent for Great Britain in 1497, though the claim had no real effect on the land where Pierre is situated. The French (the first whites to arrive at what is today Pierre) claimed the territory in 1743, but it was ceded to Spain in a secret treaty in 1762. Spanish control reverted to France in 1800, then in 1803 the area was sold by France to the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

From ci.pierre.sd.us/preamble.htm:
The City Flag, designed by Henry M. Reed, was adopted at a City Commission meeting on May 25, 1937. The body of the flag was green, to represent Pierre as the green city of parks and lawns. In the center was an outline of the state capitol with white letters "Pierre" above and "The Capital City" below. The border was scarlet, representing American Indian life which surrounded this area. The original flag contained miniature flags in each corner--American in the upper left, British in the upper right, French in the lower left, and Spanish in the lower right--representing the possessors of this territory since the discovery of America. Flags which were produced for everyday display did not have these miniatures.
Dov Gutterman, 29 December 2002

The two variants of a completely different city flag from the one in use today were described at https://web.archive.org/web/20070806131154/ci.pierre.sd.us/preamble.htm, an the official website. The current official website (though apparently lacking any mention to a city flag) shows at  ci.pierre.sd.us/images/articles/eisnachbio1.jpg the white flag with seal (context at ci.pierre.sd.us/Members.aspx?sid=139), behind the Mayor. So we can safely assume that the 1937 green flag with red border, in both its versions, is forgotten.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 8 May 2008