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Department of Housing and Urban Development (U.S.)

Last modified: 2018-12-28 by rick wyatt
Keywords: departmental | housing and urban development | united states |
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[Department of Housing and Urban Development] image by Randy Young, 12 January 2015



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Description of the flag

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has probably the most esthetically atrocious series of flags of any US executive department, which is entirely appropriate, since the department is responsible for some of the most esthetically atrocious architecture in the United States, not to mention the "renewal" (read destruction) of the downtown areas of countless American cities.

Anyway, after the Department was created in the mid-1960s, it approached the Army Institute of Heraldry (TIOH) to design a seal, as many agencies had done before. The Institute came up with a traditional heraldic design--not terribly inspired, in my opinion, but not horrible, either. The Commission of Fine Arts, the panel from the arts world that serves as a watchdog over the appearance of the federal areas of the District of Columbia, rejected the TIOH design, saying that its heraldic symbolism was "complicated and out of context, and its meaning, although presumably based on traditional associations, would be understood by few, if any, people." The Commission went on to recommend that the task be approached in contemporary terms "by an artist of recognized talent."

So HUD contracted with a designer, who came up with the emblem seen on the images of the flags. Charles C. Shinn, the director of "Graphics and Visual" for HUD then wrote to the Institute of Heraldry asking for a formal description of the new seal so that it could be published in the Federal Register. On 16 December 1966, Colonel Ed V. Henderson, the Institute's commander wrote back: "In a sincere effort to comply with your request, I discussed the seal with my Creative Heraldry and Design and Illustration people. They are in agreement that we cannot do you justice in this matter without knowing what the artist had in mind when he created the design."

HUD Secretary Robert C. Weaver approved the seal notwithstanding, and it was promulgated in Federal Register, vol. 32, No. 8, 13 January 1967, codified to 24 Code of Federal Regulations 11.1, where it was described as an eagle and two stars, the upper six bars and the star to the right of the eagle blue and the lower bars and the star to the left of the eagle green.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development flag is white with the seal in color on the center. This flag flies in front of the department headquarters in Washington.

I have seen nothing definitive that the personal flags were ever officially adopted, but there is an extensive correspondence in the files of the Institute of Heraldry, dated in 1972, in which HUD directed TIOH precisely how the flags were to be designed, as well as drawings and paintings of the flags prepared by TIOH. All are 52 x 66 inches with 2 1/2 inch yellow fringe. The green is specified as PMS 370 and the blue as PMS 542, but I have followed the colors in the images of the department seal on various HUD web pages (home page: http://www.hud.gov).

Source: TIOH, File 840-10b, Heraldic Item: Seal and Flag, Department of Housing and Urban Development
Joe McMillan, 17 December 2001


White Flag or Gray Flag?

[Department of Housing and Urban Development] image by Sergio Horta, 12 February 2001

The HUD flag has apparently changed to a gray background: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=http://img.washingtonpost.com/rf/image_908w/2010-2019/Wires/Images/2014-07-31/Bloomberg/200236011.jpg&w=1484
Dave Fowler, 11 January 2015

I found a "New York Times" article that includes a photograph of the First Lady visiting HUD. In the background behind Mrs. Obama are a mix of American flags and HUD flags with a grey background.
http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/02/04/michelle-obama-visits-hud/?_r=0

I found a second article on the NBC News website regarding the swearing in of HUD Secretary Julian Castro. The photograph in the article shows Secretary Castro taking the oath of office in front of an American flag and what I believe is probably the flag of the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. It appears to be a white flag with the HUD seal in the center and light blue stars in the corners. 
http://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/julian-castro-sworn-new-hud-secretary-n167141

I found a photograph of President George W. Bush congratulating the recently-sworn in HUD Secretary Steve Preston in June 2008. The two men were photographed standing in front of a mix of American and HUD flags with white fields.
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2162094/posts?q=1&;page=101

I found a video of former HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan giving a speech about changes to the American housing market. Secretary Donovan is seen standing on a stage in front of American and HUD flags with grey fields.
http://article.wn.com/view/2014/09/15/Council_adopts_Mundamia_Urban_Release_Area_Development_Contr/

The photographs and video seem to indicate that there probably has been a change in the field of the HUD flag from white to grey sometime between the Bush Administration in 2008 and January 2010 when the video of Secretary Donovan's speech was published.
Randy Young, 12 January 2015


Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

[Department of Housing and Urban Development] image by Joe McMillan, 17 December 2001

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development - The departmental flag with a tar in each corner, the upper hoist and lower fly blue, the lower hoist and upper fly green.
Joe McMillan, 17 December 2001


Under Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

[Department of Housing and Urban Development] image by Joe McMillan, 17 December 2001

Under Secretary of Housing and Urban Development - The same as the Secretary's but with the blue and green reversed. Not exactly the easiest pair of flags to tell apart!
Joe McMillan, 17 December 2001


Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

[Department of Housing and Urban Development] image by Joe McMillan, 17 December 2001

Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development - Blue with the seal and stars as for the under secretary, but piped in white, the words around the seal also white.
Joe McMillan, 17 December 2001