What Is the History of Indiana's State Flag?

Donna Johnson
Donna Johnson
Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

Each state in the US has a number of symbols, including state animals, flowers and trees. One of the most recognizable of the state symbols is the flag. Indiana's state flag was adopted in 1917 after a contest to choose the best design. From then until 1955, when the state General Assembly declared it should be called a flag, this symbol was referred to as the state banner.

Indiana became the 19th state in the Union in the year 1816. One hundred years later, as the people of the state were celebrating the centennial, a contest to design Indiana's state flag was announced. People from all over the state entered the contest, which the women's organization Daughters of the American Revolution, made up of descendants of American Revolutionary War soldiers, sponsored.

The winning design for Indiana's state flag was submitted by Mooresville, Indiana, resident Paul Hadley. Hadley's design featured a blue background with a yellow design of a torch and stars. The torch in the middle of the flag stands for liberty and enlightenment, two common themes in US history that are also found in such symbols as the Statue of Liberty. Straight lines radiating outward from the torch show that the influence of liberty and enlightenment extends beyond the state and even outside of the US borders.

This flag also features a total of 19 yellow stars. Thirteen of these stars line up in a circle around the torch, representing the original 13 US colonies, which were also the first 13 states. Inside the circle and below the torch, Indiana's state flag displays five more stars in a U shape. These stand for the 14th through 18th states to join the Union: Vermont, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio and Louisiana. Indiana is designated by a single star just above the torch, with the state name in all capital letters forming a semicircle above this star.

Indiana's state flag was officially adopted on 31 May 1917 by the state General Assembly. Originally referred to as a banner, the symbol was designated as a flag in 1955. Indiana state code outlines the proper display of the flag, including the appropriate size, which buildings and institutions should always display the flag, and who may request a flag from the state. The federal Flag Code describes the proper size and position that all state flags, including that of Indiana, must be when displayed together with the US flag.

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