The North Star Flag




CANADA replaced its colonial-era banner (above left) with the Maple Leaf Flag (above right), for the sake of national unity and identity. The new flag (1965) has become one of the most successful, iconic flags in the world. Simplifying a proposal by P.M. Lester Pearson (second from left), it was conceived by George Stanley (second from right, from his design memorandum), and refined by John Ross Matheson (far right) who also supported the proposal for a new Minnesota flag.
      View the CBC Archives on the Maple Leaf Flag Debate (1964-65)


GEORGIA adopted a new state flag in 2003, which was confirmed in a 2004 referendum (above, far right). It is based on the first Confederate National Flag, which also influenced earlier state flags (above, far left, 1920-56). An inflammatory Confederate "Battle Flag" version flew next, in defiance of desegregation (above, second from left, 1956-2001), although opponents instead flew the previous design as an alternate state flag. A generic blue design came next, but failed to win adherents (above, third from left, 2001-2003).
      View a news story on the 2001 flag
      View a news story on the 2003 flag


ILLINOIS has also discussed redesigning its state flag (at left). Some have suggested a redesign based on its Centennial flag (at right), created to honor 100 years of statehood in 1918; the designer, Wallace Rice, also created Chicago's iconic city flag.
      View news coverage of the effort: 2023;
      View Wikipedia's article on the State & Centennial flags.


MAINE has also discussed a simplified state flag to replace its complicated current flag (above left), and a pending referendum will decide the matter. The new version would resurrect a previous state flag, bearing a pine tree and the North Star on a buff field (above right). It is widely used as an unofficial alternate flag, sometimes with a white field instead, and/or a simpler tree (as in Maine's marine ensign).
      View news stories on the proposal: 2019, 2021, 2023, 2024
      View recent legislation: 2023, 2024
      View websites promoting the proposed flag here, here, & on Twitter


MASSACHUSETTS has debated a new state flag for years, due to objections over its portrayal of an Indian beneath a sword (at left). A 2021 law finally authorized a study to create a new state motto and seal, which by extension would alter the flag as well. A simpler alternate flag has been in use as a maritime flag (at right), and may influence any final design. Details remain to be resolved.
      View news features: 2019; 2021 law; 2023 deferral
      View the initiative's website and related podcasts.


MICHIGAN has also undergone discussions on a simplified state flag (2006 example, above right) to replace its complicated current flag (above left), and a bill to study the matter was filed in 2016.
      View news coverage from: 2016; 2016; 2023;


MILWAUKEE has also discussed a simplified flag to replace its complex city flag (above left), as have other U.S. cities. An unofficial redesign process was held for a "People's Flag" in 2015-16, with the winner (at right) known as "Sunrise over the Lake." Though widely displayed, it is not officially recognized by the city, at present.
      View the article in Wikipedia.
      View the People's Flag website.


MINNESOTA has discussed a simplified state flag since 1955, because its original flag was double-sided and complex (at left; the reverse was blue). In 1957 a lawmaker proposed a tricolor design (second from left), but the legislature instead streamlined the original state flag, using a blue field; the seal was slightly modified in 1983 (third from left). In 1989 legislative hearings were again held, and the "North Star Flag" was presented by two flag specialists; it then became an unofficial, alternate state flag (second from right). In December 2023 a legislative commission adopted a new flag to take effect May 11, 2024 (far right).
      View our Home Page


MISSISSIPPI adopted a Confederate battle-flag pattern in 1894 (first from left), which was retired in 2020 after much controversy and various replacement proposals. The first failed to unseat it in a 2001 referendum (second from left). Efforts continued with the "Hospitality Flag," which was created in 2014 by graphic designer Laurin Stennis (third from left); it was used widely as an alternate flag including in specialty license plates authorized in 2019. However, she declined to conform it with a 2020 law authorizing a new state flag bearing the motto: "In God We Trust." Instead, another design was selected after a statewide contest and referendum in November, and became law in January 2021 (above, at right).
      View a CNN story on the 2001 referendum
      View a CNN story on Hospitality Flag license plates
      View the former website of the Hospitality (aka Stennis) Flag
      Learn about the 2020 initiative here, here, here, & here.


MONTANA legislators discussed changing the state flag several times in the 1970s. In 1974, a bill proposing a design by James Croft actually reached the Senate floor, but was defeated (above right). Its colors represented the "Big Sky State," with mountain peaks recalling the state's name (see the Missoulian, Jan. 23, 1974, p. 5; Billings Gazette, Feb. 9, 1974, p. 6; The Flag Bulletin, 13.3 [1974]). Others promoted a similar design in 1979, but instead the legislature simply added the states name to the existing flag in 1981 (above left). Nevertheless, Croft's effort influenced the Minnesota North Star Flag proposal in 1989.
      View The Flag Bulletin coverage (1974)
      View a news story on the efforts (2019)
      View an FOTW post on proposals.

NEBRASKA legislators have discussed changing the state flag several times in recent years.
      View a news story on the debate (2017)

NEW HAMPSHIRE media has discussed changing the state flag in recent years. The legislature has not responded.
      View a news story on the discussion (2018)


OREGON media discussed a flag redesign in 2008-09, and a Portland newspaper sponsored an unofficial contest. The winning entry featured green, white, and blue stripes, with a golden beaver and star. A beaver is also featured on the reverse of the current flag, with the state seal and name on the obverse. However, the state legislature did not take up the matter.
      View a study of the effort (2008-09).


PENNSYLVANIA has also undergone discussions on a simplified state flag to replace its complicated current flag (above left), and a bill to study the matter was filed in 2023. One promising redesign in actual use is the Keystone Flag (above right).
      View news coverage from: 2023;


SOUTH DAKOTA legislators rejected a bill proposing a new state flag in the 2012 session. The first bill promoted a design created in 1989, which featured Native American art (above right). It was later amended to provide for a broader design contest, but was then quashed.
      View news stories on the 2012 effort here and here.
      View the Wikipedia article


UTAH media discussed adopting a new state flag in 2001, with the Salt Lake Tribune sponsoring an unofficial contest to replace the old design (left). The effort continued in the legislature amid other design proposals, including a popular redesign (center) which was adopted in 2021 as a commemorative state flag for the 125th anniversary of statehood; the same law established a process to consider a new flag. After a public contest, a winning design was chosen in November 2022, signed into law in March 2023, and took effect in March 2024 (at right). The original state flag will serve as a historic standard for ceremonial occasions.
      View the 125th anniversary flag redesign website here & on Twitter
      View the laws of 2021 (commemorative flag) & 2023 (new state flag); plus the executive order of 2023 (dual displays)
      View the 20 finalists from the official redesign contest here
      View news stories: 2019, 2020, 2021 (here & here), 2022 (finalists, winner), 2023 (Lesiglature approves, becomes law)


Poor Flags   Good Flags   Flies Poorly   Flies Well   Versatility   New Flags   Alternate Flags  

State Seal   Battle Flags   1893 Flag   Anderson Effort   1989 Effort   Oliver Effort  

2001 Contest   Flag Specs/Bill   Tributes/Photos