The City of Raleigh flag celebrates its 120th birthday (2)
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On Sunday, Raleigh celebrated the 120th birthday of our city’s flag. Fun fact: we are one of 450 cities across the U.S. to proudly fly a city flag, and even more unique, the City of Raleigh flag is a double sided flag, meaning the front and back of the flag are different.


History of the flag

The flag was officially brought to life on Dec. 1, 1899. It was created as a gift for the captain of the USS Raleigh after the cruiser won the Battle at Manila Bay in the Spanish-American War. After receiving word of the victory, the Board of Alderman (now called the City Council) wanted to honor the cruiser’s crew + proudly represent the ship and the city for which it was named. The Board of Alderman created a flag committee who approved the design and had it sewn by Miss Kate Densen for (a whopping) $52.


The red and white stripes represent Sir Walter Raleigh, the English nobleman for whom the city is named.


The front side represents the City of Oaks with an oak tree + acorns, and the crest on the back is Sir Walter Raleigh’s coat of arms. The deer is used in the coat of arms because the Anglo-Saxon meaning of the word Raleigh is “meadow of the deer.”

Want to learn more about the origins of our city flag? Head over to the City of Raleigh Museum and dive deep into the City of Oaks history.


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