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Seattle, Washington (U.S.)

King County

Last modified: 2018-08-08 by rick wyatt
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[Flag of Seattle, Washington] 11:15 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

Seattle’s flag has an elaborate design in two colors. The field is a teal blue/green—a dark aquamarine, “the color of Puget Sound at dusk”, according to the ordinance of adoption. From the top half of the hoist on a white background run four equally-spaced teal stripes, generally horizontal, but slanted slightly upward and ending in a curved shape resembling a hook. The top stripe is 3.5 units in length on a field of 11 by 15 units. Each of the stripes below decreases in length one-half unit. The width of the stripes is .5 units; the bottom edge of the top stripe is 2 units from the top edge of the field, and the stripes are approximately 1 unit apart.

Emanating from below the “hook” of each of the top three stripes is a teal ribbon that undulates toward the center of the flag and intertwines with the others to form a sort of wreath around the center of the flag, averaging about 8 units in diameter, all on white. Within this wreath, which appears to be cast from the foam of surf, is a stylized rendition of the city’s seal, in its center a profile of Chief Seattle, facing the hoist. Around the chief ’s head are two teal curved bands that appear to be cut ribbons, about the same width as the hoist stripes, one from his chin to the top of his head, and the other beginning lower at the back of his head, and extending beyond his neck. Together these form a stylized “S”. Around this figure, in teal letters beginning about 9 o’clock and ending at 3 o’clock, is CITY OF GOODWILL. Dots at 8 and 4 o’clock separate the remainder of the legend, SEATTLE, which curves from 7 to 5 o’clock.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Symbolism

Chief Seattle, leader of the local Suquamish tribe, is known best for giving his name to the city and for his 1854 speech defending the preservation of nature. His profile also represents other Native Americans of the region. “City of Goodwill” was chosen as the city’s nickname at the same time as the flag was adopted. The design suggests Seattle’s location as a port city.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Selection

The council adopted a city flag and nickname in preparation for the Goodwill Games (an international athletic event) and Goodwill Arts Festival to be held in Seattle in 1990.
Flag adopted: 16 July 1990 (official).
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Designer

Councilmember Paul Kraabel.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

More about the Flag

The central seal design is much like one proposed for a new city flag in 1976 designed by the David Strong Design Group, but never adopted.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

A few months ago, I was finally able to purchased one of these flags from a local flag shop. In nearly seven years of living near, and working in, downtown Seattle, I have never once seen a Seattle flag flying or otherwise displayed from any location -- official or unofficial -- other than my own front porch.
Andrew S Rogers, 1 March 2002


Former Flags

Few cities have made so many unsuccessful attempts to adopt a city flag as Seattle before 1990.

In 1962 and 1964 various council members called for a city flag. A Seattle designer, William Werrbach, created two designs, but neither was adopted. In 1968, local flag enthusiast Dr. Willard Goff designed a flag, but council rejected it as too contemporary (it showed the Space Needle and a supersonic transport). In 1976 Mayor Wes Uhlman recommended the flag designed by the David Strong Design Group for commemoration of the United States bicentennial, but the council declared its agenda too busy to consider it. The following year council member Phyllis Lamphere promoted the idea of adopting a city flag once again, but she finally gave up, saying that her efforts “didn't excite anyone”. There the matter rested until 1990 when the current city flag was finally adopted.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003


1970 flag proposal

The proposal for a Seattle city flag from 1970 is to be found at www.flickr.com/photos/seattlemunicipalarchives/4932551664.
"Two fifth graders sent this design to Mayor Uhlman. They explained, "The Space Needle is pointing to the future and we think it is a special landmark. We put a boat on the flag because Seattle is a great boating city and we put a plane on the flag because Seattle has a great plane industry. Found in Vertical File 365, Seattle Municipal Archives."
Valentin Poposki, 30 October 2010


1943 "Council" flag

[Flag of Seattle, Washington] 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.

In 1943, Councilman Frank McCaffrey designed and had manufactured a city flag that he presented to the council, although it was apparently unofficial. Very similar to Washington’s state flag, it has a green field of 3 by 5 units with the city’s seal in gold in the center. The seal shows a profile of Chief Seattle toward the hoist, • CITY • OF • SEATTLE • curved over his head, and 1869 centered below it. Surrounding this portion is ring that declares over the top half, CORPORATE • SEAL • OF • THE as a preface to the city’s name below.

In the lower half of the ring are two dolphins, one on either side facing the lower center point, where two fir cones are shown. The dolphins, according to the seal’s designer, James A. Wehn, symbolize Seattle as a center of deep-water commerce; the fir cones represent the Evergreen State (Washington’s nickname). (The seal was adopted 13 January 1937.) McCaffrey’s flag was known as “Council’s Flag”, and hung in council chambers for at least two decades.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Better image of seal: www.tobydammit.com/tours/posters/1994/seal_seattle.jpg
Ben Cahoon, 16 July 2015


1934 Proposal

[Flag of Seattle, Washington] 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.

About 1934 Mayor Charles L. Smith presented an unofficial city flag to the Nile Temple of the Shrine Legion of Honor (a Masonic marching body) and the Shriners used it for years to represent the city at their national meetings. This flag, apparently one of a kind, is 5:7 in proportions. The white field has a narrow blue border. In the center of the field is a frontal portrait of Chief Seattle, presumably in natural colors, surrounded by a white ring edged in gold on which CHIEF curves above and SEATTLE curves below, all in gold. Emanating from the top of the band is a gold flourish extending to either side. Across the top of the flag is a broad heraldic ribbon, white and edged in gold, with CITY OF SEATTLE in gold, “OF” smaller than the other words. Centered below the ribbon and immediately above the gold flourishes is the legend, in smaller gold letters, INCORPORATED 1869. Centered at the bottom in larger gold letters is WASHINGTON. Whether city officials may ever have used the flag is unknown. 
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003


Port of Seattle

[Flag of Port of Seattle, Washington] image located by Jan Mertens, 19 November 2008

The Port of Seattle flag is shown on this page (last photo): www.portseattle.org/about/. Its field is white and shows the logo or wordmark: 'Port' in blue, to its right three horizontal stripes, slanting to the right, light blue - green (slightly pointed lower left and upper right angles) - dark blue; second line, blue words 'of' (italic) and 'Seattle'.
Present logo is compared with a previous one at www.underconsideration.com/.
"The Port of Seattle is a major hub for international trade, transportation and travel in the northwest United States. Established in 1911, the port has quickly grown, becoming the 7th busiest US seaport in 2007. From its roots until now, the port has always thought of itself as progressive. The port envisions itself as one of the "cleanest, greenest, most energy-efficient port[s] in the nation." Visually the port has attempted to align itself with its twentieth-century mission of being the cleanest, greenest port."

The Port's own logo page at www.portseattle.org/news/stories/ states:
"The three bars of the logo suggest air, land and sea - the three realms where the Port operates - with green running through the center. They also represent the three parts of sustainability: economic development, social responsibility, and environmental stewardship."

Jan Mertens, 19 November 2008


Sound Transit

[Flag of Sound Transit, Washington] image located by Esteban Rivera, 17 August 2014

Sound Transit has been the popular name of Washington state's Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority since September 19, 1999. It was formed in 1996 by the Snohomish, King, and Pierce County Councils. It operates express bus, commuter rail, and light rail
service in the region and constructs capital projects in support and expansion of those services.
Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soundtransit

The flag is a horizontal flag with white on the top featuring the logo and on the bottom the livery of the trains.

For additional information go to:
SoundTransit (official website) www.soundtransit.org/
Esteban Rivera, 17 August 2014