How Was the Washington State Flag Founded?

In the state of Washington, the Washington state flag is accorded the highest position of honour, second only to the U.S. flag and the flags of other sovereign nations, when it is flown within the state.

When displayed in conjunction with other flags representing the various states of the United States, the Washington state flag is positioned in the 42nd position.

This particular placement corresponds to the chronological order in which Washington ratified the U.S. Constitution and subsequently attained statehood.

 

How Do I Describe the State of Washington?

Washington State Flag
Picture of the Washington State Flag

Washington is a geographically situated state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States.

The state of Washington shares borders with the states of Idaho and Oregon, as well as the Pacific Ocean. The capital city of Washington state is Olympia.

Although Washington is widely recognised for its precipitation, it is important to note that not all regions within the state have a surplus of rainfall.

As an illustration, it can be observed that the eastern region of the state exhibits significantly lower levels of precipitation compared to the coastal western region.

Although Washington is located in the northern region of the United States, it does not experience extreme cold temperatures as commonly perceived.

In the month of January, the city of Seattle, located in the state of Washington, often has average temperatures of approximately 40ºF. During the month of July, the average temperature typically ranges around 60ºF.

In any case, Seattle does not undergo the pronounced fluctuations characteristic of both summer and winter seasons.

In the eastern region of Washington, the summer climate exhibits a temperature range spanning from 70ºF to 100ºF.

During the month of January, temperatures generally range from 20ºF to 30ºF. The annual precipitation in Washington’s Pacific coast region is estimated to be around 150 inches.

The precipitation levels in East Washington are significantly lower compared to the coastal regions, with an average annual precipitation of approximately 17 inches.

The state of Washington encompasses several prominent urban centres, including Seattle and Tacoma.

The state additionally exhibits a substantial agricultural sector, characterised by the cultivation of wheat, livestock, and various other crops.

Washington is renowned for its aesthetically pleasing natural environment and distinctive geographical features.

Several notable topographic features in the region include the Cascade Range, the Olympic Mountains, and Mount St. Helens.

Mount St. Helens is a geologically active stratovolcano that experienced a significant eruption in the year 1980, resulting in the unfortunate loss of 57 human lives.

Despite the significant magnitude of the losses incurred, the eruption at Mount St. Helens precipitated numerous scientific and technological advancements with the primary objective of safeguarding individuals from potential volcanic hazards in subsequent occurrences.

Washington State is renowned for its diverse and abundant flora and fauna. More than 50% of the state’s land area is characterised by extensive and densely populated forested regions.

Several tree species that are commonly observed in Washington state include the western red cedar, hemlock, and ponderosa pine.

In arid regions devoid of forests, the dominant vegetation comprises various shrubs, including sagebrush.

The fauna in Washington state encompasses a diverse array of mammalian species, including notable examples such as elk, bears, cougars, and mountain goats.

Trout and sturgeon, two species of fish, are commonly found inhabiting freshwater bodies around the state.

 

Read also: What Does the Alabama State Flag Symbolize?

 

How Do I Describe the History of the State of Washington?

After the foundation of the Oregon Territory in 1848, there emerged a desire among the inhabitants residing in the region north of the Columbia River to establish a separate territory of their own.

The recently acquired region in the Pacific Northwest was designated as the “Columbia Territory,” so establishing a clear distinction from the pre-existing Oregon Territory.

Subsequently, the Columbia Territory had a change in nomenclature, being officially designated as the “Washington Territory.”

The newly chosen name was a tribute to George Washington, a renowned military strategist during the Revolutionary War and the inaugural president of the United States.

The individual in question is President Grover Cleveland.

The original establishment date for the state of Washington was designated to coincide with the commemoration of George Washington’s birthday on February 22nd.

Nevertheless, the state was not officially admitted into the Union until November of that same year. However, Washington was officially established on November 11, 1889, and became the 42nd state of the United States.

 

How Do I Describe the Washington State Flag?

The Washington state flag is comprised of a dark green background adorned with the seal of Washington.

The seal has a depiction of George Washington enclosed within a circular border, accompanied by the inscription “The Seal of the State of Washington 1889.”

The Washington state flag may also possess an elective gold fringe. The Washington state flag is distinct in that it incorporates a green backdrop, setting it apart from other state flags.

Additionally, it stands as the sole state flag to prominently display the image of a historically significant individual. The Washington state flag possesses an aspect ratio of 1:1.6, which is comparable to 5:8.

However, it is important to note that there are two other flag sizes available, namely 3 ft × 5 ft (0.9 m × 1.5 m) and 4 ft × 6 ft (1.2 m × 1.8 m).

The dimensions of the seal exhibit a direct correlation with the length of the flag, according to a ratio of 1:3 between the diameter of the seal and the length of the flag.

The Washington state flag measures 5 feet by 8 feet (1.5 metres by 2.4 metres), with the seal featured on it having a diameter of 31 inches (78.7 centimetres).

 

Read also: How Did the Michigan Flag Come Into Being?

 

How Do I Describe the History of the Washington State Flag?

The territorial seal of Washington during the 19th century included a meticulously rendered naturalistic depiction, showcasing elements such as the sea, mountains, and a prominent female figure symbolising hope.

This central figure was accompanied by a log cottage, waggon, and a dense fir forest, further enhancing the overall composition.

The aforementioned design underwent replacement during the period of statehood in 1889.

The jeweller, Charles Talcott, was tasked with the responsibility of engraving the seal. In his professional capacity, he suggested a design that was both straightforward and visually impactful.

This design featured the name of the state, the date of its entry to the Union, and a prominent depiction of George Washington’s bust.

The aforementioned seal was officially accepted on the fourth day of July in the year 1889.

Mrs. Stephen J. Chadwick, a member of the group Daughters of the American Revolution, made the choice in 1915 to use a green field on the flag of Washington, which is why the state is sometimes called “Evergreen State.”

Additionally, she positioned a bust depicting President George Washington at the flag’s centre.

In the year 1920, the training vessel that was under the ownership of the Washington State Nautical School displayed a flag that bore a resemblance to the aforementioned banner.

In 1923, the state assembly approved a green state flag that prominently displayed the state seal at its centre.

Initially, the flag was intended to be adorned with a green fringe; however, subsequent to 1925, it was officially mandated to bear a fringe of gold during specific ceremonial events.

On April 19, 1967, a more exact artistic characterization was ascribed to the flag. The aforementioned legislation mandates the proper placement of the seal on both sides of the flag.

Nonetheless, it is worth noting that the majority of flags in circulation are still manufactured with only one side displaying the seal.

Washington is unique in its possession of a state flag inside the United States that features a green backdrop.

During the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition of 1909, the Washington chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) initiated a campaign with the objective of adopting an official state flag.

The Washington, D.C., chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) was asked by the DAR national organisation in 1914 to supply a state flag for display at the DAR Memorial Continental Hall.

Emma Chadwick, the wife of Washington State Supreme Court Justice Stephen J. Chadwick, led the DAR’s design committee to create a new flag for the state. The flag-making committee’s mission was to design a new state flag.

The flag of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), which was officially adopted in 1915, featured a verdant backdrop adorned with the state seal prominently positioned at its core.

The flag was produced in Washington, D.C., with an expenditure of $48 (adjusted for inflation, equivalent to $1,400 in 2022), and afterwards shown by the national DAR until 1916.

The flag was then brought back to the Washington chapter in April 1916, specifically for their general meeting held in Everett.

During this meeting, DAR State Regent Elizabeth Bowden urged the chapter to petition the legislature for the official recognition of the flag as a state symbol.

In a publication of the National Geographic Magazine from 1917, an examination of U.S. state flags included a depiction of an unofficial flag of Washington that bore a resemblance to the design of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).

This particular flag showcased a green backdrop adorned with the state seal in a golden hue, which was reportedly obtained from military sources.

In 1920, a significant flag proposal was incorporated, originating from the ephemeral Washington State Nautical School.

The flag, conceived by Grover C. Gaier, who held the position of secretary-treasurer, featured a green background adorned with the state seal and embellished with gold fringe.

The flag would be hoisted on the USS Vicksburg, symbolising the state nautical school, as it embarks on a journey through the West Coast and towards Hawaii.

In 1922, the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) initiated a renewed lobbying effort to advocate for the establishment of a state flag.

This endeavour received endorsement from several civic organisations, including the Sons of the American Revolution.

The Senate passed a bill in February 1923 recommending the adoption of the state flag, and the House of Representatives passed the same bill unanimously on March 5, 1923.

The governor’s consent was deemed unnecessary, resulting in the bill’s enactment as law, so formally adopting the state flag.

The legislation was enacted on the 7th of June, 1923, and subsequently, an unauthorised flag was ceremoniously displayed by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) on Flag Day.

During the period of its adoption, Washington was among a group of four states that did not own an officially recognised state flag.

On July 23, 1924, the inaugural state flag, produced by Willis Bloom from the office of the secretary of state, was publicly revealed.

The Inaugural Ball held on January 15, 1925, in honour of Governor Roland H. Hartley’s inauguration, featured a performance of the “State Flag Waltz,” which served as a celebration of the newly introduced flag.

In the course of the 1925–26 session, the state legislature granted approval for a modification to the state flag, wherein the green fringe was substituted with a golden hue, aligning it with the state seal.

The gold-fringed flag was first introduced to the public on June 27, 1927, when it was displayed on the official vehicle of the governor during a visit to Fort Lewis.

In the year 1929, the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) bestowed upon Governor Hartley a state flag, which he accepted on behalf of the state with the intention of exhibiting it within the Washington State Capitol.

In 1955, the Washington Secretary of State established standardised hues for the state flag, which incorporated the contemporary colours employed in the state seal.

In 1967, the state seal underwent a makeover by Dick Nelms, as per the request of the secretary of state. The redesign incorporated Gilbert Stuart’s renowned portrait painting of George Washington.

The state legislature granted approval to the new state seal in April 1967, promptly incorporating it onto the revised state flag.

The North American Vexillological Association (NAVA) polled flag aficionados in 2001 to find out how they felt about the 72 flags used to represent the states, territories, and provinces of the United States and Canada.

The Washington state flag was evaluated by participants and received a ranking of 47th out of the 72 flags included in the study. It obtained a score of 4.53 out of 10.

The flag of Washington State faced criticism due to its intricate seal, the inclusion of letters, and perceived resemblance to the flags of other U.S. states that employed solid-coloured seals.

 

What Does the Washington State Flag Symbolize?

The green backdrop featured on the flag of Washington serves as a symbolic representation of the state’s picturesque natural environment, encompassing its abundant evergreen forests and expansive fields.

The colour green is symbolic of the dedication exhibited by the citizens of Washington to safeguard the natural environment and the land bestowed upon them.

The seal’s yellow-gold border symbolises the significance of wheat in the agricultural industry in Eastern Washington.

The depiction of George Washington serves as a representation of the inaugural president of the United States, who is widely regarded as a founding figure and a significant force in shaping the early development of the American nation.

 

Read also: What Does the Design of the Paraguay Flag Symbolize?

 

Conclusion

The city of Washington derives its name from George Washington, the inaugural president of the United States.

The colour green symbolises the presence of evergreen trees and fields in the state of Washington.

The colour also symbolises the commitment of its inhabitants to the preservation and stewardship of Washington’s environment and ecological assets.

The decision to lower the state and U.S. flags to half-mast is typically determined by local authorities, however, the Governor of Washington has the authority to issue such an order for memorial days.

 

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