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Madison, Wisconsin (U.S.)

Dane County

Last modified: 2020-01-04 by rick wyatt
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[Madison, Wisconsin flag] image by Kristin Boyle, 18 November 2019



See also:


2018 Flag

The flag of Madison, WI was revised/adopted July 2018:

July 24, 2018
Madison will get a new flag after City Council members approved Tuesday a modified design that removes a symbol some say appropriated a Native American tribe’s culture. The City Council, on a voice vote, unanimously approved the new design, which keeps most of the current elements on the flag.

The new design removes part of the center element that resembles an ancient sun symbol that originated from the Zia Pueblo tribe in New Mexico. Elements that will remain are a diagonal, white band that separates two light blue segments, representing the Isthmus between Lake Monona and Lake Mendota. The new flag also retains a central black cross with a gold circle in the middle to represent the state Capitol as seen from above.

The old flag was designed in 1962 by brothers Rick and Dennis Stone to symbolize the city on trips with the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps. Ald. Arvina Martin, who along with Ald. Maurice Cheeks pushed for the flag’s redesign, praised the Stones’ “excellent” design while saying the inclusion of the Zia symbol was “inadvertent cultural appropriation."
Kristin Boyle, 18 November 2019


Previous Flag

[Madison, Wisconsin flag] 3:5 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.

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 resolution adopting the flag of Madison: This flag is of light blue color and is bisected diagonally by a white band running diagonally from the lower left to the upper right of the flag, when looking at it… Superimposed on this background is a Black Cross … and overlaid on this Black Cross is the Indian Sun symbol in gold.
James Croft, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Symbolism

The resolution states: "The two light blue segments separated by the white diagonal band represent Lakes Mendota and Monona. The white band symbolizes the isthmus between the two lakes." In fact, however, two additional lakes, Lake Kegonsa and Lake Waubesa, are linked to Lake Mendota and Lake Monona by the Yahara River. A Native American tribe, the Winnebago, had originally settled on the site and called it Dejop or "Four Lakes"; today Madison is known as the "City of Four Lakes". The four points on the black cross symbolize these four lakes. The placement of the cross in the center of the white stripe also suggests Madison's role as Wisconsin state capital, located in the center of the isthmus. The designers placed the Native American sun sign on the flag to show Madison as a "shining city" and add more color to the flag. (The same sun sign appears on the flags of the state of New Mexico and the cities of Albuquerque and Wichita).
James Croft, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Selection

Adopted by a formal resolution of the common council of Madison upon the initiative of the Madison Drum and Bugle Corps. The flag was dedicated to the city by the designers and their parents. Adopted: 12 April 1962 (official)
James Croft, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Designer

Rick and Dennis Stone, Boy Scouts and members of the Madison Drum and Bugle Corps, with the aid of John Price, their color guard instructor.
James Croft, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

More about the Flag

The designers' mother made the first city flags. In 1965, the city attorney, Edwin Conrad, considered using the city flag with its simple design and striking colors as the cover for a bond prospectus. Comparing the wording of the flag's resolution with the flag hanging in council chambers just a few feet from his seat, he discovered that the flag had been displayed upside down since its installation three years before.
James Croft, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

From http://www.ci.madison.wi.us/comp/handbook/CityFlagRes.htm
The Official City Flag
The flag was officially adopted by the City as its colors on April 12, 1962. Resolution No. 4408 reads as follows:

Preamble
By the use of their artistic endeavors and ingenuity and with the aid of John Price, their color guard instructor, Rich Stone and Dennis Stone, Boy Scouts and members of the Madison Drum and Bugle Corps, have designed and created a flag which the Madison Drum and Bugle Corps will use on its trips to symbolize the spirit of the City of Madison. This flag is of light blue color and is bisected diagonally by a white band running diagonally from the lower left to the upper right of the flag, when looking at it. The two light blue segments separated by the white diagonal band represent Lakes Mendota and Monona. The white band symbolizes the isthmus between the two lakes. Superimposed on this background is a Black Cross, typifying the State Capitol and the Four Lakes, and overlaid on this Black Cross is the Indian Sun symbol in gold.

Rich and Dennis Stone, and Mr. and Mrs. Philip Stone, their parents and natural guardians, are now dedicating this flag to the people of the City of Madison for use as the official flag of the City of the Four Lakes, without any obligation of the City to any person, organization, or group.

Now, Therefore, Be It Resolved,
That the dedication of this flag by Rich Stone and Dennis Stone, and Mr. and Mrs. Philip Stone, their parents and natural guardians, for the purposes stated, without any obligation upon the part of the City to them or any other person or organization, be accepted. That such flag be adopted as the official flag of the City of Madison.
Dov Gutterman, 22 December 2002


Proposed flag change

In 2017, a Native American tribe based in New Mexico called for the city to remove the sun symbol from the center of the flag. Now, alders Arvina Martin and Maurice Cheeks want to remove that symbol and replace it with a gold circle. They're introducing an ordinance to make the change. It will be introduced at Tuesday night's City Council meeting, where it will be referred to a city committee or committees.
Dave Fowler, 3 June 2018