JOURNAL OF GREAT WATERS ASSOCIATION OF VEXILLOLOGY
June, 2002 Vol. VII, No. 1, Issue 13
AKRON'S NEW FLAG TARDILY IDENTIFIED
Keeping up with new adoptions of municipal flags is a challenging task, most often because the new adoptions are not widely publicized, and little known outside of the municipality's immediate geographic area. For several years, the writer, who lives 40 miles from Akron, has visited that city for one reason or another, but was unaware that the city had adopted a new flag, even though it was on display in several prominent places in the city. The reason in this case is that the new flag so closely resembles the flags given to a city that is declared an "All America City" that the new flag was not identified as such. 1 Only a recent newspaper article spotted by member Richard Monahan brought the adoption to light. 2 The "new" flag is actually 6 years old, having been adopted in March, 1996.
The new flag, on a white field, substitutes the former city seal for the new one, designed by Mayor Don Plusquellic and his Chief of Staff, Joel Bailey. The new seal is deliberately patterned after the All-America City insignia, which consists of an American shield with five white five-pointed stars on a blue horizontal field in the chief. Immediately below this are the words, in blue on white, All-America City. The rest of the shield displays 11 vertical red-and-white stripes (6 red, 5 white). Akron's seal has a similar design, but features two rows of five white stars (to represent the city's ten wards), and the word, AKRON, in black capital letters in place of the All-America City legend. Unlike the All-America City insignia, however, Akron's shield is enclosed in a blue ring, on which appears in white lettering, curved over the top, 1981-ALL-AMERICA CITY-1995, to commemorate the two years that the city was given the award from the National Civic League. Curved below, and oriented so it can be easily read by the viewer, is the phrase, CITY OF INVENTION, also in white capitals, to honor the fact that Akron is the home of the National Inventor's Hall of Fame at Inventure Place. The flag's proportions are 3:5.
Akron's former flag was designed by Sam Scherr, and industrial designer, and adopted in August, 1965. Scherr's design for the seal, also on a white field, resembles a logo. The shape of the seal is oval, oriented horizontally. On a blue field is a white rhomboid in a diamond shape that appears to be divided horizontally by a narrow blue line that becomes thinner at each end, thus protruding two isosceles triangles. In the center is a vertical white tree-like figure, extending into the top triangle with 5 arrows resembling bilateral branches on a red background that allows enough of the white rhomboid to show to give the illusion of a large A with very short "feet." The trunk has a narrow blue line on either side extending into the lower triangle where the tree's white "roots," shaped like the branches above without the arrowheads, are bordered in blue within a very narrow blue inverted triangle. The whole gives the appearance of the upper half reflected in the lower half with slightly different coloring. Over the top third of the oval, in an arc, are the words, CITY OF AKRON, in blue. Below the lower third of the oval, in similar fashion, is AKRON · OHIO, also in blue. In the remaining space, emanating on either side of the oval, are five small red isosceles triangles, like sun's rays.
Scherr explains the symbolism of his design as "based on historic concepts as well as future image desires." The small triangles represent the city's 10 wards, as well as expansion and growth. The triangle shapes represent Summit, the name of the county in which Akron is located, and also suggests the city's name, which is summit in Greek. The letter A is for Akron, and the abstract tree represents life, growth, and expansion. The top part represents direction and progress; the bottom part, planning, traffic, and street layout. The two triangles represent the original two Akrons, and is enclosed in quartic shape to form present-day Akron. The passage between the two sections represents Akron, the City of Bridges. The flag's proportions are 5:7.
1The National Civic League annually gives the All-America City award to those communities of all sizes where citizens work together to better their localities.
2 The Akron Beacon Journal, December 3, 2001.