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Minneapolis, Minnesota (U.S.)

Hennepin County

Last modified: 2017-07-13 by rick wyatt
Keywords: minneapolis | minnesota | microscope | wheel | cog | temple | pennant | hennepin county |
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[flag of Minneapolis, Minnesota] image by Blas Delgado Ortiz, 4 February 2002

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Description of the flag


The Official Flag of the City of Minneapolis was adopted by the Minneapolis City Council on May 27, 1955. The flag features a blue pennant on a white background. Inside the pennant is a white circle displaying these symbols:

  • A building representing education and the arts.
  • A cogged wheel representing labor and industry.
  • A pilot wheel representing lakes and rivers.
  • A microscope representing research, skilled craftmanship and progress.
Dov Gutterman, 26 February 2002

Confusion about the colors

Incorrect colors 
[flag of Minneapolis, Minnesota] [flag of Minneapolis, Minnesota]
first image by Randy Young, 27 June 2015; second image located by Randy Young, 27 June 2015

Based on a photograph that I recently found online, as well as the accompanying text, it appears that our understanding of the city flag was incorrect and the colors need to be reversed. The article and photographs, regarding the flags that can be seen in downtown Minneapolis, can be found at

The Minneapolis city flag here is in the form of a white pennant on a blue field. The circle on the pennant is the same.
Randy Young, 27 June 2015

The page quoted at still existed with the same information in 2007. Even this 2014 MinnPost article, with the photographs, also has a drawing of the downtown map with the flags on it, and there it shows a flag with a light field and a dark triangle. Yet, the writer describes the flag as being a white pennant on a blue field as if this is the normal state of things.

So, what does it now say on the city's website? Simple: (last updated 15 June, 2015)

RESOLUTION (By Aldermen Earl Johnson and Jack Jorgensen)

Adopting an official Flag of the City of Minneapolis and directing that the original design be kept on file in the office of the City Clerk for use in reproduction of other flags.

Whereas, the City Council has heretofore appointed a committee to select a flag of the City of Minneapolis; and

Whereas, the said committee has, after diligent effort, selected a suitable design for such a flag; the design of said flag being as follows:

A royal blue pennant on a white field or background with a white circle on a blue pennant divided by four parts; each of the four parts of the circle containing a blue symbol, i.e., a building symbolizing education and the arts; a cogged wheel and square symbolizing labor and industry; a pilot wheel symbolizing our lakes and rivers and all activities identified with them; a microscope symbolizing research, skilled craftsmanship and progress - all of these symbols combined point out the beauty, harmony and brilliant future of our City.

Now, Therefore, Be it Resolved: That the above described design be and is hereby adopted as the Official Flag of the City of Minneapolis and that the original design therefore be filed and kept of record in the Office of the City Clerk as a model to be used and copied by all persons desiring and authorized to reproduce the flag.

Be It Further Resolved that the City Council of the City of Minneapolis, for itself and on behalf of all the citizens of the City of Minneapolis again express deep appreciation and heartfelt thanks to all persons who contributed to make this project a success.

Passed May 27, 1955 - Eugene E. Stokowski, President of the City Council

Approved May 27, 1955 - Eric G. Hoyer, Mayor

Attested by Arlene R. Finkle, City Clerk
But what then is in the photograph? I don't know. The only photographs of a Minneapolis flag that I've found so far are indeed those in the article, thus there's no body of occurrences to compare to. The author, Andy Sturdevant, does appear to have some interest in flags, and you'd think he'd notice that this one copy was the wrong way round, if it were, unless on the ground the flag is as rare as it is on the Internet.

Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 27 June 2015

I have lived in Minneapolis and visited often. I have only seen the "blue" pennant on a white field. I suspect the white pennant on a blue field is an error, unless the city quietly changed their flag.
Lee Herold, 27 June 2015

Thank you for looping me in on this conversation. I am pleased to report that your original depiction of the Minneapolis flag is correct: blue pennant, white background, as per the city council's resolution in the 1950s. The flag depicted in the photo is incorrect, as was my original description of the flag's color arrangement.

Part of the point of the original piece was that the Minneapolis flag is completely unbeloved -- I don't find it to be a particularly great design, and most of my fellow citizens seem to agree with me. If they didn't, you'd see it out in the world more often. It's exceptionally rare to see the city's flag in person around town, and as we find in this case, even when it *is* displayed, it's the wrong color scheme. (And as Peter pointed out to me, not only did I get the description wrong, but no one noticed for three years.)

There is in fact an urban legend around these parts that for years, the flag was hung upside down in City Hall, and no one noticed for decades. You'll notice if you do a Google image search for the flag, you find virtually no examples of the flag being flown out in the world -- I think the only example is from my article. And it's the wrong color configuration! The plaza where it flies is owned and (presumably) maintained by a private corporation, not city property, so I wonder if they made a mistake in ordering or commissioning it. I don't have any more information on that.

As a side note, since the original article and its follow-up about St. Paul was posted, there has been a groundswell of support in St. Paul for that city's flag. A few enthusiasts began printing and selling it, and in fact, the St. Paul flag now flies proudly in the city's new minor league ballpark. In just the space of a few years, the St. Paul city flag has become a much more common sight than its Minneapolis counterpart.

Andy Sturdevant, 29 June 2015