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Riverhead, New York (U.S.)

Suffolk County

Last modified: 2020-07-04 by rick wyatt
Keywords: new york | riverhead | suffolk county |
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[Flag of Riverhead, New York] image by Rob Raeside, 26 August 2010

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Description of the flag

There are three small images of the flag of the Town of Riverhead, Suffolk County, NY, to be found at - the fourth photo (not too clear); the fifth photo (a bit better); and a partially visible view in the last photo on the page. The flag is divided quarterly, offset to the hoist, so that the first and third quarters are square (or at least close to square) and the second and fourth quarters are longer rectangles. The Town Seal is placed over the intersection of the quarters. The first quarter is spiky waved dark blue and white stripes, the second and third quarters are green, and the fourth quarter dark blue.
Ned Smith, 16 August 2005

I see that a Wikipedia contributor has posted an excellent image of the flag in October 2009 at in which the details are clearly visible.
Ned Smith, 12 January 2010

By a very interesting coincidence, a new book on the Town of Riverhead was just recently released by the Riverhead Town Historian, Georgette L. Case, and includes a couple of pages on the seal and flag. With the author's permission I quote from her work. The work Riverhead Town Supervisor's 1792-2010 includes additional information on the town's flag and seal.

The flag was designed by Supervisor Joseph F. Janoski, who served from 1980 until 1995. Responding to a request from the Suffolk County Executive, who had in 1980 asked for flags from each town, Mr. Janoski designed one for Riverhead in the Spring of 1981.
The symbolism of the flags elements is given by Ms. Case as:
The upper canton is Waves- the water surrounding the town. The bottom left green field reflects our agricultural heritage and natural history. The upper right green is hope for success for the future. The bottom right blue is for fidelity to our past and history as we move into the future." [p. (66)]
I've taken a rough measurement of the proportions, and the 1st and 3rd cantons are approximately 2 x 3, while the 2nd and 4th are 2x 4 (note- this shows my earlier estimation, done from afar, is sadly off, in that the cantons near the hoist are not particularly "squarish"). The seal is centered on the intersection of the 4 cantons.

It should be noted that this is another of those cases where the seal on a town flag differs a little from the official version illustrated in the specifications of the seal, although the difference is very small. There is a slight difference in the way the sails are set on the schooner. At the time the flag was designed, the seal actually differed even more. Ms. Case's research has shown that the seal in the town records then was one adopted in 1900, where the river ran top to bottom, both banks were visible as was a bridge, the farmer and horse team faced left instead of right, and there was a mill in place of the County Court House. Also, there were no supporters, shield nor motto. The whole scene filled the ring completely.

A couple years after the flag was designed the town adopted a redesigned seal which conforms more closely to the one shown on the flag. [Resolution #323, adopted June 7, 1983] This states: "The Town Seal design is described as follows: the year 1792 representing the year when the Town of Riverhead was separated from Southold Town, the river, source of its name, and vital to those early industries of milling, fishing, and trading; the farmer behind the horse-drawn plough representing the Town's historical agricultural base; and the Court House showing it to be the County Seat of Suffolk. Surrounding these symbols stand classic figures with olive branch, cornucopia, and outstretched arms depicting the motto (translated): "Peace and Prosperity Through Progress." Encircling the entire composition is a marine rope suggesting the importance of waterways which abound in the Town of Riverhead." [p. 65] Ms. Case  adds that theCourt House shoes 10 windows to signify the 10 towns in the county.

Most of the online images of the seal that I've found are the version used on the flag. For example see the plaque on the back wall at, but one somewhat blurred image on an online form shows the official version with the slight difference in the rigging of the sails:

The bibliographic information follows:
Title: Riverhead Town Supervisors 1792-2010
Medium: Book
Author: Georgette Lane Case
Publisher/Location: Georgette Lane Case; Riverhead, New York, US
Language: English
Date: 2010 (1st ed.)
Pages: 75
Format: 21 cm (height) X 25 cm (width)
Remarks: Illustrations and information on seals and flag are on pages 64 to 66.

Ned Smith, 2 September 2010


[Municipal seal] image located by Paul Bassinson, 20 April 2020

Paul Bassinson, 20 April 2020