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Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee (U.S.)

Last modified: 2018-07-27 by rick wyatt
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De Jure flag
[Flag of Nashville and Davidson County] 3:5 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.



Known Flag - indicates flag is known.
No Known Flag - indicates it is reported that there is no known flag.

Municipal flags in Nashville and Davidson County:


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 metropolitan flag of Nashville and Davidson County as adopted has a medium blue field with a narrow yellow vertical stripe at the fly. On a field of 3 by 5 units, the yellow stripe is about .33 units wide. Centered on the flag’s field is a large white disk with a diameter of about 2.33 units. On its white field is the metropolitan government seal, a gold circular band edged on both sides in blue, with a diameter to its outside edge of about 1.5 units. Extending from the outside edge are 11 isosceles triangles divided in half vertically blue (left half ) and yellow (right half ). At the topmost point, instead of a triangle, is a yellow fleur-de-lis, edged in blue. Alternating with these triangles and the fleur-de-lis are smaller solid blue triangles, 12 in all, which taken as a whole, resemble the points of a compass. On the gold band METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT curves clockwise over the top half and OF NASHVILLE AND DAVIDSON COUNTY curves counterclockwise below, separated at the midpoint on either side by a small five-pointed star, all in blue. The center of the seal has several figures in blue on a white field. Most prominent, and directly in the center, is a Native American chief, in partial profile toward the fly. His hair is braided, with two feathers extending down from the crown of his head. He wears native dress and holds a spear and bow under his right arm. His right hand holds a peace pipe, extended downwards. His left arm is slightly raised and he holds a skull in his left hand, in profile toward the hoist. On the fly side of the chief is a tobacco plant in full leaf and bloom. On his hoist side, leaning slightly away from his right leg, is the American shield with 15 stars and 15 stripes. A bunch of five arrows bristles from behind the upper hoist part of the shield. Perched on the shield’s top point is an eagle, wings lifted, facing the fly.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Symbolism

The ordinance of adoption explains the symbolism:
The bold heraldic blue signifies the courage and conviction of its leaders [of Nashville and Davidson County] throughout history and the deep gold denotes the richness of its land and resources; the seal of government, encompassed by a circle of immaculate white which promises devotion to the well being of all people, lends the official designation of the strength of the government to stand behind the ideals of the flag; the seal is peaked by a fleurde- lis, invoking the iris which brighten the springtime in the metropolitan area. The radiating compass points direct the way to opportunities unlimited; inside the compass is the historic seal of the Old City of Nashville combined with that of Davidson County; the Indian has been identified as Chief Oconostota, famous Cherokee leader who holds the skull and implements of war which he and General James Robertson buried between them as a sign of peace during the early days of the settlement of Nashville; the tobacco alludes to the wealth and cultivation of the land; the eagle, who neither flees nor fights a storm but flies above it, betokens superiority, judgment and strength in the face of danger; the stars on the shield represent the 15 states in the Union at the time Davidson County was chartered as a county by North Carolina in 1783. Tennessee became the 16th state in 1796; the seal and flag have much in common, showing the bond between all elements of our government.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Selection

When Nashville and Davidson County merged on 1 April 1963, the combined government adopted a new flag to replace their previous flags.
Flag adopted: December 1963 (official).
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Designer

Professional artists, not named.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

More about the Flag

Mayor Beverly Briley officiated at ceremonies on 4 August 1964, the first public raising of the flag. He later officiated at another ceremony on 11 June 1969, when he accepted the return of a metropolitan flag that had been in combat in Vietnam with Sgt. V. R. Michaels, advisor to the South Vietnamese Air Force jet squadron. Over the years since the flag’s adoption, there have been several unofficial changes in the colors and design, so that the flag currently flown in metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County differs somewhat from the original.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003


Detail of seal

[Seal of Davidson County] image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 24 March 2008

Detail of image on seal

[Seal of Davidson County] image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 24 March 2008


Flag as used

[Flag of Nashville and Davidson County] image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 23 March 2008

The flag of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee, as used, is dark blue, with a white-yellow "Tennessee-style" fly. It contains a white disk on which is county seal.
Source: Cannon (1990), Flags of Tennessee
Falko Schmidt
, 3 December 2001

The current flag has a dark blue field, and between it and the yellow vertical stripe at the fly is a narrow vertical white stripe that recalls the Tennessee state flag. Moreover, the seal that was originally blue and gold on white is now shown in some additional colors on white. The lettering around the seal, originally blue, is now red. The Native American chieftain is shown in the same blue and white colors as the original, but the peace pipe has gold feathers instead of white. The tobacco plant is shown with gold leaves, not white, with dark blue shading. The American shield now has a light blue chief, but because the object is so small, the stripes below merge into a solid dark blue, as are the arrows. The eagle resting above the shield is now gold instead of white, with dark blue details on the wings. The background of the seal is divided horizontally in half with an undulating line; the lower half is green for grass, and the upper half is a light blue sky with white clouds scattered across it.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

John Purcell mentions in American City Flags, pp. 229-232, that there have been some unofficial changes to the Nashville flag since its inception, including the addition of the white stripe, changes in coloring in the seal (added color now vs. blue & gold on white; gold feathers now vs. white; tobacco white previously, now gold with blue shading- same for the eagle; background now green grass, light blue sky and white clouds, shade of blue on the chief of the US shield is lighter now) and the lettering around the seal was previously blue and is now red.

So are these just variants of a single flag, or two different designs? If it was just the differences in the seal and lettering I'd say it they the same flag. It's the addition of the extra stripe that makes me hesitate to say that. See www.nava.org/NAVA%20Meetings/nava39/NAVA%2039_files/NAVA3921.jpg for photographic confirmation that in at least one case the white stripe is included and the seal is in added color. Also see www.nashville.gov/mocy/mayor_photo031.htm for a clear look at the reverse side.
Ned Smith, 23 March 2008


Former flag

[Former Flag of Nashville] 3:4 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.

The earlier flag of Nashville has a red field with a narrow blue border. Across the field is a broad white saltire, with arms expanding toward the corners and a blue five-pointed star in its center. Around the star is a gold laurel wreath; a large gold N appears between the upper points of the wreath, directly over the star. The flag’s proportions are 3:4.

The flag’s designer was Harville Duncan, a student at Hume-Fogg Technical and Vocational High School, who won a $50 prize in a contest open to all students of the city’s schools. The flag was first officially used on 19 May 1961. In the ceremony presenting the flag, Mayor Ben West explained its symbolism:

The blue star in the center signifies Nashville’s pre-eminence as the Capital City of Tennessee. The great white rays emanating from the star are symbolic of Nashville’s reputation as a city of enlightenment, a center of education, medicine, and religion, backed by a diversified industrial economy. The City’s initial, in gold, surmounts a classic Athenian wreath, symbolic of Nashville’s cultural traditions which have made it widely known as ‘The Athens of the South.’ The design includes a field of red bordered in blue, symbolizing the City’s integral position within the framework of the State and the Nation.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003