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Issue 19 

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FLAGWAVER

JOURNAL OF GREAT WATERS ASSOCIATION OF VEXILLOLOGY

June 2005                                                      Vol. X,  No. 1, Issue 19

Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, Kentucky

Lexington became Kentucky’s largest city in 1974 when the city and

county governments merged into Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government,

but lost that rank in 2003 when Louisville merged with its county into

the Louisville-Jefferson County Metropolitan Government. Until

November, 1983, when the Lexington-Fayette government adopted a flag,

Lexington had not previously had a city flag in its 208-year history., although

in 1964, Elizabeth Fugazzi, who won the city-wide contest for the

design of a city seal, had hoped that the seal would also be part of a new

city flag, but the idea never was adopted. Fugazzi, the wife of the

incumbent mayor at that time, Fred Fugazzi, had drawn her entry with

crayons on a cardboard insert the laundry had put in one of her husband’s

clean shirts.

In 1983, Mayor Scotty Baesler decided that the Urban County Government

needed a flag, and in less than a month he and his aides came up with a

design incorporating Fugazzi’s seal, with an alteration of the original

legend to reflect the change of government.

The flag has a white field with the city seal in its center in full

color. The flag has a double border around the flag, set in from the

flag’s edges so that the double border itself appears to be bordered in

white. The outer of the inset borders is light blue; the inner one,

very narrow so that it appears to be little more than a fimbriation, is a

dark golden color.

The seal in the center has a light blue field. Around the outside

edge is a dark golden ring encircled with a fimbriation of light blue on

its outside edge. Beginning about the 7 o’clock position on the ring

and arching around it to the 5 o’clock position in black capital letters

is LEXINGTON FAYETTE URBAN COUNTY GOVERNMENT, clockwise. Centered at

the bottom of the ring in the same letters, but counter-clockwise, is

KENTUCKY. Directly in the center of the seal is a Greco-Roman-type

building with six pillars, in white with gold shading to represent the

front of Morrison Chapel of Transylvania College (now University), the

oldest college west of the Allegheny Mountains, and symbolic of Lexington’s

age. On either side of the building are three dark golden tobacco

leaves shadowed in white, curved in a wreath-like fashion, depicting one of

the region’s oldest agricultural products. Directly above the building

is a dark golden horseshoe, with white shadings, ends upwards,

symbolizing both the famous horse farms of the region as well as a traditional

good-luck charm. Centered below the building in black Gothic numerals

is 1775, date of the city’s founding.

The original seal, never used on a flag, differed only in the wording

around the ring. On that seal, CITY OF LEXINGTON in white capital

letters outlined in black, was curved over the top between the 11 and 2

o’clock positions, preceded and followed by a white dot, edged in black.

Curved below, counterclockwise, in the same letters and filling up the

remaining space on the ring, was COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY.

The seal’s colors were established in the ordinance of adoption on

December 29, 1964, which replaced the seal that had been in use since

January 26, 1916.

 

EDITORIAL

 

In the December, 2000, edition of Flagwaver, we published the history

of the Chicago flag. Through our website, we recently received an

e-mail from T. Edward Whalen, a research engineer in the Psychology

Department at Northwestern University, that the illustration which accompanied

the online version of this story was incorrect. The message stated that

the stars depicted were not "pointy" enough. As the basis for this,

Whalen cited Wallace Rice's (the flag's original designer)

specifications for the stars on the flag and provided detailed mathematical

formulas to draw "correct" stars.

First, the flag on the GWAV website was provided through the City of

Chicago. Although Mr. Rice recommended the proportions of the stars,

because his recommendations were not incorporated into the ordinance

which adopted the flag, they remain only recommendations. In fact, the

ordinance is full of vague terminology which allow a manufacturer or

artist a great deal of freedom in depicting the flag. The text of the

original ordinance which was adopted in March, 1917, was published in the

original article. It was further codified in Section 693 of the

Chicago Municipal Code of 1931 which states:

The Chicago Municipal Flag shall be white with two blue bars each

taking up a sixth of its space and set a little less than one-sixth of the

way from the top and bottom of the flag respectively. There shall be

two bright red stars with sharp points, six in number, set side by side,

close together, next to the staff in the middle third of the flag.

On October 11, 1933, this was revised by striking out the word "two"

and inserting the word "three." The second sentence was amended again

on December 21, 1939, to read "There shall be three bright red

stars..." A second section was added reading:

The said red stars on the municipal flag shall be designated from the

hoist outward as follows:

-Fort Dearborn

-The Great Chicago Fire of October 8-10, 1873

-The World's Columbian Exposition of 1893

-The Century of Progress of 1933

Neither the ordinances nor the complete code address the shades of red

or blue to be used on the flag nor do they define how "pointy" the

stars should be nor how large in relation to the total proportions of the

flag. Some accounts of the flag also cite the representations of each

point of the stars such as transportation, commerce, religion,

education, or the history of the area. Again, these are not specified in the

legislation.

In practice, this lack of direction shows. Some flags on display at

various sites in Chicago show stars with sharp points similar to those

on the Australian flag. Others, including some shown on City websites,

depict a star resembling the Mogen David of the Israeli flag. Still

another depiction of the flag on plaques outside City Hall show the flag

with five-pointed stars. While this is clearly in error, and a correct

flag flies nearby, it has remained for several years. Thus, while we

appreciate the input, the Flagwaver Editors and GWAV website manager

stand by the illustration as one of the acceptable depictions of the

Chicago flag.

 

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