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Wilmington, Delaware (U.S.)

New Castle County

Last modified: 2018-07-26 by rick wyatt
Keywords: wilmington | delaware | new castle county |
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[flag of Wilmington, Delaware] 5:8 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.



See also:


Current Flag

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

Wilmington’s flag is simply the Swedish national flag (an off-center yellow cross on a blue field) with a large seal of the city at the intersection of the cross’s arms. The seal has a narrow ring around its outside, in gold. It depicts a colonial scene: A tall red mill detailed in gold, its water wheel in white, occupies the center hoist side. The mill rests on a gold horizontal stripe, above a green field. Behind the mill is the blue sea, the horizon just slightly below center. In the distance, from the center to the fly side, is a sailboat and an old-fashioned sailing ship, under full sail, all sails white. The light-blue sky fills the rest of the seal’s field. Curved clockwise around the top of the seal from 8 to 4 o’clock is SEAL OF THE CITY OF WILMINGTON, and curved counterclockwise below is DELAWARE, all in black letters superimposed over the edges of the scene.
John M Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Symbolism

The city was founded by Swedes on March 28, 1638; the flag was adopted for the city’s 325th anniversary commemoration. The seal shows Wilmington soon after its founding and suggests the milling and shipping industries that would become important in the city’s development.
John M Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Selection

The flag’s design dates to 18 February 1927, as a result of a request by Robert J. Forman, superintendent of the public buildings, for a city flag for an official dinner in honor of Superintendent of Police George Black. The seal dates from 1832, but its official adoption date is uncertain.
Flag adopted: 28 March 1963 (official).
John M Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Designer

Stanley M. Arthurs, a local artist.
John M Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

More about the Flag

The flag was apparently first used unofficially in 1927 and occasionally thereafter. Wilmington formally adopted the design before presenting a city flag to its Swedish sister city, Kalmar, whose officials were attending the 1963 anniversary celebration. The designer based his design on information, obtained from various Swedish officials, about the flag most likely used by the Swedes who first landed at the Wilmington site. That flag was “nearly square”, so the first flag made followed that pattern, but by the time of the official adoption it had assumed a longer rectangular shape. Its proportions are not specified, but presumably the same as Sweden’s flag.

The seal shown on the flag differs somewhat from a more traditional version also used by the city. In the alternate version the seal has a blue ring around the outside, edged in gold. The lettering appears on the ring, and a five-pointed star is shown before and after DELAWARE, all in gold.
John M Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003


Detail of seal

[seal of Wilmington, Delaware] image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 9 June 2008


Former flag

Another unofficial city flag existed around 1960, a blue field with the city seal in the center (presumably in gold), but it was apparently rarely used, and little is known about it.
John M Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003
 
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