The West Virginia state flag was adopted by the legislature on March 7, 1929.
It is a simple design. The state’s coat of arms, which is the front side of the state seal, is emblazoned in color in the center of the flag. Above the seal is a red ribbon lettered ‘‘State of West Virginia,’’ and a wreath of rhododendron surrounds the lower part of the seal. The legislature stipulated that the proportions of West Virginia’s flag be the same as those of the flag of the United States. The white field of the flag is bordered on four sides by a strip of blue. When used for parade purposes, the flag is trimmed with gold-colored fringe on three sides.
West Virginia’s first state flag was authorized by the legislature on January 28, 1864, and individual flags were presented to each of the state’s military regiments before the end of the Civil War. Although the details of the flag had not been designated by the legislature, all the regimental flags were similar. They were made of dark blue silk with a golden fringe. One side featured the state seal. The other side featured the national coat of arms, an eagle with a shield protecting its breast, arrows in its right talons and an olive branch in its left.
The details of the flag were apparently not standardized until the early 20th century. In 1904, officials addressed the question of a flag for the West Virginia building at the St. Louis World’s Fair. A commission recommended a design that had a white field with a sprig of rhododendron flowers and leaves in the center. The state seal and the motto ‘‘Montani Semper Liberi’’ were on the reverse side. On February 24, 1905, the legislature adopted the design. The flag was impractical because the sides were different and the letters and the colors showed through. For the 1907 Jamestown Exposition the faults were corrected, but the flag proved expensive to produce.
Flags, unofficially made for West Virginia’s 1913 Semi-Centennial celebration at Wheeling, featured a design similar to today’s flag, with a wreath of rhododendron curving upward and partly enclosing the state seal. In 1929, the legislature stipulated the proportions and design of the flag that is still in use.
Last Revised on November 05, 2010
Cite This Article
e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia "State Flag." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 05 November 2010. Web. 27 March 2017.