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Cincinnati, Ohio (U.S.)

Hamilton County

Last modified: 2018-07-27 by rick wyatt
Keywords: cincinnati | ohio | hamilton county |
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[Flag of Cincinnati, Ohio] 2:3 image(s) by permission of David B. Martucci
image(s) from American City Flags, Raven 9-10 (2002-2003), courtesy of the North American Vexillological Association, which retains copyright.



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Current Flag

Text and image(s) from American City Flags, Raven 9-10 (2002-2003), courtesy of the North American Vexillological Association, which retains copyright. Image(s) from American City Flags by permission of David B. Martucci.

Design

According to the ordinance of adoption:

The flag of the City of Cincinnati shall be rectangular in shape. It shall have a white ground work. In the center shall be a red letter C'. Extending horizontally from either side of the letter C' shall be three wavy parallel lines of navy blue. Within the letter C' shall be the seal of the City of Cincinnati in blue. Extending upward from a point at the top of the letter C' and spaced equally from its center line shall be a cluster of five buckeye leaves in red. The proportional dimensions of the flag and of its various parts shall be according to the official design thereof on file in the Council Chamber of the City of Cincinnati.
The wavy blue lines occupy approximately the center horizontal third of the field. The seal is described officially as having in the center, a representation of a winged rod entwined with two serpents crossed by a sword, above which shall appear the scales of justice, which shall be surmounted with the words "Juncta Juvant".
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Symbolism

The red "C" is for Cincinnati. The red buckeye leaves above it represent Ohio, the "Buckeye State". The wavy blue lines symbolize the Ohio River, on which Cincinnati is situated. In the seal, the winged rod signifies commerce; the serpents, wisdom; the sword, authority and power; and the scales, justice. The motto Juncta Juvant is translated variously as "United They Assist", "Things Joined Together Are Helpful", and, more freely, "Growth through Unity".
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Selection

The Cincinnati Times-Star ran an editorial on 23 November 1895, offering a prize of $50 for a distinctive flag for the "Queen City". Mayor John A. Caldwell named a panel of prominent citizens to judge the over 100 entries. The seal had been authorized 19 May 1819.
Adopted: 15 June 1940 (official), 1895 (unofficial)
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Designer

The winner, who signed his entry as "Zero of Burnet Woods" (a neighborhood of the city), was later identified as Emil Rothengater, a foreman at Russell Morgan Lithograph Co. (later the U.S. Printing Co.).
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

More about the Flag

After the winning design was selected, Charles P. Taft, editor of the Times-Star and a U.S. congressman, had Congress give Cincinnati exclusive rights to the design on 24 January 1896. The flag's selection, however, was controversial due to a strong sentiment of the time that the national flag was the only one the city needed, so Cincinnati's flag remained unofficial and largely unseen until its 1940 adoption.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Description of the flag

From the city's website at www.rcc.org/budarchives/bud1999/cincinna.htm:

The ordinance:
§ 104-3. Official City Flag.

The flag of Cincinnati shall be rectangular in shape. It shall have a white groundwork. In the center shall be a red letter "C". Extending horizontally from either side of the letter "C" shall be three wavy parallel lines of navy blue. Within the letter "C" shall be the seal of the city of Cincinnati in blue. Extending upward from a point at the top of the letter "C" and spaced equally from its center line shall be a cluster of five buckeye leaves in red. The proportional dimensions of the flag and of its various parts shall be according to the official design thereof on file in the council chamber of the city of Cincinnati.

(C.O. 104-2; renumbered to C.M.C. 104-3, eff. Jan. 1, 1972)
Rob Raeside, 31 July 2002