The Nevada state flag has a renowned history of change in its design; aside the fundamental symbolism and meaning that this flag has always carried. The first Nevada state flag soared in 1905, reflecting Nevada's most famous mineral resources: silver and gold. Thirty-six stars were displayed on the blue background to signify Nevada's position as the thirty-sixth state to enter the Union. In 1915, the Nevada state flag added the Nevada State Coat of Arms. The thirty-six gold and silver stars were re-sized and re-arranged around the Arms, with the motto "All for our country" declared below.
In 1926, Nevada Lieutenant Governor Maurice Sullivan called attention to the high cost of producing the state flag, (with intricate design and numerous colors), prevented its widespread use in the state. To find a solution, a state flag design contest was announced in June 1926, with a reward of $25.00 and the honor of creating the design for the new Nevada State Flag. A design submitted by Louis Shellback III was selected as the winner. However, a push to adopt the winning "Shellback" design before the inaugural ball was not approved by the 1927 Legislature. Nevada continued to fly the 1915 Nevada state flag at the Governor's Office and at official ceremonies.
It was not until 1929, when the Nevada State Legislature and Senator William Dressler introduced a bill to repeal the 1915 Nevada flag and embrace the "Shellback" design.
This bill passed through the state senate, but was held by the Assembly when the Education Committee recognized the "Shellback" did not include the state's name. In an amendment proposed by Cada C. Boak, the state name "NEVADA" was to be added to the design around the Silver Star. The Senate would not approve the amendment proposed by the Assembly and the Assembly would not back down. A dispute between the Senate and the Assembly over the design that was to be approved generated a stagnant course for the flag. With the legislative session coming to a close, a conference committee composed of Senate and Assembly members was appointed to work out a compromise on the design.
On March 26, 1929, Governor Balzar of Nevada signed the bill adopting the "Shellback" Nevada state flag. However, the bill signed by the Governor did not contain the amendment that had been approved by the Senate and the Assembly, and so did not reflect legislative intent. The letters of the Nevada state name ended up inscribed between the points of the Silver Star, as prescribed by the original Assembly amendment, not beneath the sagebrush sprays as determined by the legislative compromise. This error was discovered sixty years later by legislative researcher Dana Bennett in 1989. Senator William Raggio introduced a bill in 1991 to correct the lettering on the Nevada State Flag. At this time, Terry Sullivan, Director of General Services, stated his concern about the lack of uniformity in the flags produced for the state. After Senate and Assembly hearings, the legislature voted to correct all of the shortcomings of the 1929 legislation.
In 1991, the error of the 1929 legislature was corrected and the Nevada State flag that flies over Nevada reflects both the original "Shellback" design and the intent of the legislature. The Nevada State flag, as we know it today is cobalt blue with two sprays of sagebrush in the upper left hand corner in a semi-circular design. Above the sprays is the state name, "NEVADA" (Spanish for "Snowclad"), as a reminder of the great peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Above the state name is the Silver Star representing the Nevada State Mineral and the wealth of mineral resources within the state. The words "BATTLE BORN" read on the golden scroll above the wreath of sagebrush and surrounding the Silver State to testify that Nevada was admitted to the union during the Civil War.
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