Know Ohio: Ohio's unique state flag

EARLIER IN THE SHOW, WE TALKED ABOUT THE RESPECT WE TYPICALLY PAY TO OUR NATION’S FLAG – AND YOU’VE PROBABLY HEARD THE TALE OF BETSY ROSS STITCHING TOGETHER THE OL’ GLORY WE SALUTE TODAY – BUT WHAT ABOUT OHIO’S STATE FLAG? 

HERE TO BANTER ABOUT THE BUCKEYE STATE’S BANNER …IS KNOW OHIO’S MARY FECTEAU. 

Ohio’s state flag – it’s right there behind me every week – and you’ll see it waving proudly all around the state, but the truth is Ohio was a little late to the party when it comes to a flag. A hundred years late to be exact. 

Ohio entered the union in 1803, but it wasn’t until 1902 that it finally got around to officially adopting a state flag. And the flag was first publically displayed…in New York. 

In 1901, Ohio was a state on the rise, with booming cities and a profitable agricultural industry. So when then-governor George Nash heard about the Pan-American Exposition, a large international fair happening in nearby Buffalo, NY, he saw an opportunity for the Buckeye State to steal the spotlight. 

He set up a commission to construct a big, fancy building in honor of Ohio – and, out front, waved Ohio’s newly designed flag. 

The state even celebrated Ohio Day on July 18, 1901 at the fair, boasting that six presidents had come from the state of Ohio, including the current president William McKinley, who, as it turns out, assassinated a few months later at that same exhibition. 

The flag was designed by Cleveland architect John Eisenmann – who is probably best known for designing the stunning Cleveland Arcade downtown. And just like his architecture, he strived to make 

the Ohio flag unique. While eeeeevery other state flag is a standard rectangle, Ohio is only one to have a different shape – called a swallow-tailed burgee. 

Eisenmann designed the flag to represent the many aspects of Ohio. The points of the blue triangle stand for the hills and valleys of the state. The thirteen stars on the left side represent the original thirteen colonies. The other four stars are symbols of the next four states, including Ohio which was the 17th state in the union. 

The stripes represent the roads and waterways of Ohio. Finally, the red and white circles stand for the “O” in Ohio and are meant to look like a buckeye. 

On the flag’s 100th birthday, Ohio lawmakers adopted a pledge to the flag: 

“I salute the flag of the estate of Ohio and pledge to the Buckeye State respect and loyalty.” 

Because Ohio’s state flag is such an important symbol of its history, there are special rules for how to handle it and how it can be displayed. There’s even a special way to fold it that was invented by a boy scout in 2005 and made into law. 

Interestingly, the current American flag was also designed by an Ohioan. Robert Heft was 17 years old when he designed the flag for a class project. His teacher gave him a B- but said he could get a better grade -- if he was able to get the US Congress to approve his design — and he did!

Instructional Links

Website Article & Videos: ideastream, American Champions

http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/w/Ohio's_State_Flag_(1901)?rec=1883

Video: YouTube: Ohio's Flag and It's Story

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iqe2ONwlkkI

Website Article: USA4Kids, Ohio State Flage

http://www.usa4kids.com/flags/Ohio.html

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