State Flags Through the Decades: The 1920’s Part II

Thursday we discussed the first four state flags adopted in the early 1920’s. These flags had variety ranging from red, white and blue designs to flags with no blue!

Today we’re off to discuss the designs of Arkansas, Oregon, Alaska and West Virginia state flags. Will there be any surprises? Let’s find out!

Arkansas – 1924

state flag Arkansas

Arkansas follows the red, white and blue design with their state flag. The flag is a red field with a large blue-bordered white diamond with 29 five-point stars. The white diamond holds five larger blue stars and the inscription “Arkansas”. The three stars below “ARKANSAS” stand for the three nations Arkansas has belonged to: Spain, France and the United States. In 2001, the Arkansas state flag was ranked 45th of 72 by the North American Vexillological Association.

Oregon – 1925

state flag oregon front

state flag oregon back

Oregon is the first and currently only state flag to be two sided! The flag is navy blue and gold. On the front is the state seal and on the back is a gold figure of the state animal, a beaver. The state seal was designed two years before Oregon was admitted into the Union. The design has “State of Oregon” and “1859” above or below the seal. The seal is topped with an American eagle and depicts mountains, an elk, covered wagon, and the Pacific Ocean. In the ocean is a British ship departing and an American steamer arriving. The elk stands for the plentiful game in the state and there is a sheaf, plow and pickaxe present to symbolize mining and farming. There is a banner inscribed “The Union” and the thirty-three stars represent Oregon entering the Union as the thirty-third state.

Alaska – 1927

state flag alaska

The Alaskan flag is unique in that it doesn’t hold a seal, motto or red, white and blue. The flag is a dark blue field with eight gold stars. The eight gold stars form the Big Dipper and the North Star. The Big Dipper symbolizes a bear which is an animal indigenous to Alaska. The flags stars can be used as a guide to locate Polaris and true north.

West Virginia – 1929

state flag West Virginia

The West Virginia flag is a pure white flag with a blue stripe bordering on all four sides. The coat of arms is placed in the center surrounded by Rhododendron maximum, a flower cluster native to the region, and topped with a red ribbon reading “State of West Virginia”. The coat of arms symbolizes the principle pursuits and resources of West Virginia. The center of the shield has an ivy-draped boulder inscribed with the date West Virginia was admitted into the Union. In front of the boulder lie crossed hunting rifles and a liberty cap to symbolize the state’s fight for liberty. Two men flank the boulder, one a farmer and one a miner to represent agriculture and industry.

Finishing out the 1920’s, let’s take a moment to see what we’ve encountered this far! From red, white and blue flags to flags with no blue at all; what’s the trend this far?

Red, white and blue flags: (4) Hawaii, North Carolina, Mississippi, Iowa

Civil War Inspired: (3) South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas

Motto/Seal/Coat of arms: (11) Connecticut, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Michigan, Delaware, Missouri, Kentucky, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Oregon

Non-blue: (2) California, New Mexico

Blue and colors: (3) Arizona, Indiana, Alaska

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