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Cedar Rapids, Iowa (U.S.)

Linn County

Last modified: 2021-11-20 by rick wyatt
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[Flag of Cedar Rapids, Iowa] image located by Rick Wyatt, 31 October 2021



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2020 Flag

Designed and selected by our community, for our community.
To select a flag that best reflects the community, we asked residents to tell us what colors, shapes and symbols best represent Cedar Rapids. More than 200 residents sent design ideas.

Several volunteer designers used the input gathered from the community to create a series of concept flags. The concept flags were ranked and refined through feedback from members of the North American Vexillological Association and a local committee.

Cedar Rapids residents ranked four final designs to arrive at a new flag for the City of Cedar Rapids.

Design Considerations
Designs for the new Cedar Rapids flag follow the five basic principles of good flag design published by the North American Vexillological Association:

Keep It Simple: A flag should be so simple it can be drawn from memory.
Use Meaningful Symbolism: A flag’s images, colors, or patterns should relate to what it symbolizes.
Use 2-3 Basic Colors: Limit the number of colors on the flag to three which contrast well and come from the standard color set.
No Lettering or Seals: Never use writing of any kind or an organization’s seal.
Be Distinctive or Related: Avoid duplicating other flags, but you can use similarities to show connections.

Dissecting the Flag
The primary colors of the Cedar Rapids Flag are blue, green and white.

The flag's primary color is blue.
Blue water forms a backdrop for the Cedar Rapids flag. It represents the Cedar River as it courses through Cedar Rapids, splitting at iconic Mays Island.

Resting atop the blue canvas is a rounded green shape, which emerges from either edge of the hoisted end of the flag.
A green field forms a rounded shape, emerging from either edge of the flag's hoisted end, and coming to a point just to the right of the flag's center. This shape depicts Mays Island and represents all of the wonderful green space and recreational areas of our city.

The green shape is bordered in white, and meets at a point just to the right of the flag's center.
A white arch forms a border between the blue water and green field. This shape represents the city’s homes, businesses and infrastructure, including long-term flood protection, which both interacts with and protects the community from the river. The rightward pointing direction of the arch indicates progress and symbolizes the city's promising future.

Centered within the green shape is a white five-pointed star.
A white, five-pointed star sits in the middle of the green field. The star represents the historic structures built on Mays Island. The five points illustrate the five seasons in the City's motto — City of Five Seasons — spring, summer, fall, winter, and extra time afforded to residents of Cedar Rapids to enjoy all of the other seasons and life.
Provided by flag designer, Bo, 31 October 2021

The City of Cedar Rapids received more than 200 submissions to make a new city flag. The goal is not to pick a single winner, but create a new design using multiple ideas from the community. A local committee is narrowing them down and the final choice will lie in the hands of Cedar Rapids residents via an online vote. The new flag will be unveiled on June 6th during Resident Appreciation Day/Farmers Market.
https://cbs2iowa.com/news/local/more-than-200-submissions-for-new-city-flag 
Dave Fowler, 25 January 2020

Previous Flag

[Flag of Cedar Rapids, Iowa] 3:5 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.

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

The field of the flag of Cedar Rapids is white. Across approximately the central third of the field horizontally, extending seven-eighths of the flag’s length, is a symbolic city skyline in blue. Beginning at the hoist side is a historic mill, separated from the church with a steeple that follows it by three corn stalks. In the center is a representation of the city’s Memorial Coliseum. On the fly side is a factory with two smokestacks, then three more stalks of corn, and finally the girders of an unfinished rectangular building. Above the mill is a cloud; another is behind the upper part of the Coliseum; and smoke wafts from the smokestacks toward the fly. The scene is enclosed on the sides and above by three curved lines with the first indentation at the church steeple and the second at the factory smokestacks. The scene rests on a blue heraldic ribbon on which the city’s motto appears in white (with quotation marks): “PROUD of YESTERDAY [below the mill and church] PROGRESSIVE TODAY [below the Coliseum] PROMISING TOMORROW” [below the factory and unfinished building]. Above the scene, running across the field nearly the same length as the scene is CEDAR RAPIDS; below, centered below the central segment of the scene is IOWA, all in large red letters.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Symbolism

In 1963 the city administration explained the flag’s symbolism:
Red, white, and blue are the three basic colors because they are the basic colors of both the American flag and the flag of Iowa. The ribbon on which the slogan of Cedar Rapids appears represents the Cedar River which has been and probably always will be an important part of Cedar Rapids. The structure on the left [hoist] represents the first mill built in Cedar Rapids along the river in 1842. The role of agriculture is represented by the stalks of corn on both the left [hoist] and right [fly] of the design. The church pictured represents the many churches for which Cedar Rapids is famous and proud. The Memorial Coliseum is symbolic of the progressive city which Cedar Rapids is today. This building houses both our city government and the Chamber of Commerce. The factory illustrates the role of industry in Cedar Rapids today and in the future. The steel girders of an unfinished building represent the promising future of our great city.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Selection

A contest was held among the four high schools of the city.
Flag adopted: 8 October 1962 (official status uncertain).
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Designer

Fred Easker, Jr.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

More about the Flag

After the flag was adopted, 114 were made. Two were kept for the mayor’s office and council chambers; the remainder sold for $3.35 each.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003