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Dayton, Ohio (U.S.)

Montgomery County

Last modified: 2022-10-22 by rick wyatt
Keywords: dayton | ohio | montgomery county |
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[Flag of Dayton, Ohio] image located by Dave Fowler, 16 December 2021

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Description of the flag

Dayton is a city of about 166,000 people, in Montgomery County, western Ohio, between Columbus and Cincinnati.

The city adopted a new flag.
Dayton’s first flag was created in 1917. In 1956, there was an open contest to replace it. A new flag was selected by a six-person group and implemented in 1958 and hasn’t changed since.

The city’s old flag from 1958 was overhauled to a modern abstract design symbolic of the Wright Flyer, five rivers and Gem City.

Dayton-based Catapult Creative designed the final flag, using elements from the top three submitted designs. The flag’s symbolism includes white stripes reminiscent of the Wright Flyer’s wings. The bold lines and colors, especially the green, symbolize the “Gem City.” The wings of the flyer divide the flag into three sections: a green section symbolizing the land, a dark blue section for river-ways in Dayton, and a light blue section symbolizing the sky. In addition, the five angled stripes (four white, one blue) represent the five rivers throughout the region, according to the city officials and designers.

Community members submitted 312 flag design ideas and the flag committee narrowed it to the top 10 flags. The city commission narrowed it to the top three. The city hired a design firm Catapult Creative to take the submissions, see what people liked about them, and come up with a final flag design that incorporated the ideas.

Dave Fowler, 16 December 2021

Final three submitted designs

Catapult Creative, a leading boutique agency for branding, web design and development, digital marketing and logo design, was selected as the firm in charge of the new city flag design, under the legal aide of Maggie Schaller in her role as Legislative Aide for the City Commission Office, who lead the project, together with a 20-person steering committee. It cost the city $4,300 for the design and video that was produced to introduce it to the community. The process model for the flag change is said to have been based on South Bend, Indiana.

"The city said it began the process for a new flag in August 2019 to build civic pride."
"A contest was opened on October 1, 2019 to anyone who wants to submit an idea. Criteria were listed on the city's website, but most importantly, the new flag must conform to themes, colors, and values set forth by the committee. Reasons to update the flag included improving feelings of connectivity, civic engagement and ownership of the city, as well as bringing the City flag in line with guidelines of the North American Vexillological Association.

After a Public Survey process, the Mayor’s Flag Redesign Committee came together to identify the major themes that collectively represent Dayton’s identity. In some fashion, the following four items were to be directly or indirectly represented in your flag design. Themes did not need to be literally represented on the flag-any symbolic representation should still follow the NAVA rules of good flag design. The application form required an explanation as to how each designer
has symbolically represented these tenets:

Flight: Innovation
As the birthplace of aviation, flight is a critical part of Dayton’s history and identity with many regional schools, museums, public art pieces, non-profits, and regional partners that pay tribute to our history. But flight is about more than planes - Dayton has always been a place of invention, soaring to new innovative heights, aspiring for greatness. Striving higher, whether that is in the sky or not, is a critical part of the Dayton spirit.

Gems: Grit and Resilience
While the origin of the “Gem City” nickname for the City of Dayton is unknown, it rose to popularity with Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poem “Toast to Dayton”. In recent years, the Gem as served not just as a symbol for a shining city that is often a “diamond in the rough”, but also a city that is hard to break. After enduring a variety of challenges, Dayton has shone through with grit and tenacity harkening back to its apt nickname.

The intricate waterways in the Dayton area served as a lifeline for local Native Americans and the eventual European settlers who called the Dayton area home. Since then, the rivers have continued to be a part of the Dayton story. The Dayton Flood of 1913 was both a major tragedy and turning point for a more unified and increasingly modernized city. These days, our waterways serve as a scene of beauty, recreation, and connectivity.

Unity in Diversity
The City of Dayton’s strength comes from its residents, who are from a variety of different backgrounds, countries, neighborhoods, and vocations. As a city focused on welcoming with a hearty Midwestern spirit, part of what makes us special is the diverse array of people that call Dayton home. After so many challenges, citizens have continued to come together and show that “Dayton takes care of Dayton”. By bringing the strength that comes from diverse people and backgrounds, the city is made better and more unified.

The Mayor’s Flag Redesign Committee encouraged the use of colors that are consistent with other imagery and logos frequently used in Dayton and the Greater Dayton area, which typically includes blue and green. For an example of these colors as they appear in Dayton and the surrounding region, please see the graphics at Flag designs should be limited to using four colors at most (not all need to be used).

Other requirements included:
Flags designed in the standard US Flag 1:1:67 proportion. Submitted designs should be “1.5” X 2.5” in size.

Submissions opened starting Oct. 1st, 2019 and ended Dec. 9th, 2019, and included the following criteria:

Include symbolic, visual, or design representation of the four city-wide themes as conveyed by the Flag Redesign Committee.
Utilize the Dayton color palette (blue and green).
Adhere to the North American Vexillological Association’s Five Basic Principles of Flag Design (see below).

There were a total of 312 flag submissions, including 10% from Dayton Public School students, largely Cleveland Elementary. Out of those 312, members of the Mayor’s Flag Redesign Committee selected a final seven designs, and members of the City Commission narrowed down to a final three. Public input, quality of design, meaningful explanation of design and elements, and design adaptability were among the criteria that will be considered in selecting the final design.

The final three were announced February 26th, 2020, and were then released to the public for an open submission comment period. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the project was put on hold in March of 2020, though the public comment form was left open until August of 2021. Around 1500 responses were received throughout this 19 month period. After looking at this feedback, there was no clear consensus of a favorite design ( and, so as outlined from the beginning of the process a graphic designer was brought in to help create a final design based on the final three designs and incorporated citizen feedback.

A design reflecting these three final designs as well as citizen feedback, was developed and approved by the Flag Redesign Committee, and was voted into the City of Dayton Code on December 15, 2021."
Sources: and

The flag was unveiled on December 15, 2021 ( Here's the description: "Using colors often seen throughout the Dayton region of blue and green, this flag incorporates many of our shared values. The wings of the flyer divide the flag into three sections: a green section symbolizing the land, a dark blue section honoring riverways in Dayton, and a light blue section symbolizing the sky,” the city said. “In addition, the five angled stripes (four white, one blue) represent the five rivers throughout the region, the critical waterways of our history and our present.” (source:

Soaring into the sky is a view of the Wright Flyer’s wings, honoring not just our history of flight, but our commitment to innovation and striving higher. With its bold lines and colors, especially in vibrant green, we showcase our reputation as the “Gem City” and as a community centered on grit and tenacity.

The wings of the flyer divide the flag into three sections: a green section symbolizing the land, a dark blue section honoring riverways in Dayton, and a light blue section symbolizing the sky. In addition, the five angled stripes (four white, one blue) represent the five rivers throughout the region, the critical waterways of our history and our present.
Esteban Rivera, 18 September 2022

Elizabeth Adams submission
[Flag proposal] image located by Esteban Rivera, 18 September 2022

"The diamond in the middle stands for the Gem City. The blue makes me think of the Metroparks. The green makes me think of trees.", Elizabeth Adams, a fifth grader at Cleveland Elementary School in Dayton, designed this flag.

Cecelia Freeman submission
[Flag proposal] image located by Esteban Rivera, 18 September 2022

"Dayton; a city of innovation, grit, unity in community, and a dynamic river system full of history which provides recreation and fun for all. This flag displays a river in white which also represents the highs and lows that Dayton has gone through and come out stronger. Soaring in the blue sky and above the lowest part of the river on the flag, the 10-point stars shine bright like gems as they rise with grit and resilience through the hardships. The 3-stars represent diversity - conveyed through size difference - and unity of community. The 10-points of the star bring an ode to the gears of innovation which take flight from the heart of Dayton. Strong in adversity, innovative with diversity and sky’s the limit as we reach for the stars and possibilities of what the future holds. This flag encapsulates the heart of Dayton and inspires each of us to work hard, build community, seek adventure, and fly the flag of Dayton proudly."

Larry Collins submission
[Flag proposal] image located by Esteban Rivera, 18 September 2022

"The 'D' shaped field of white is for Dayton, The color White for our hope for peace, Green is for our hope for growth. The descending slope suggests our geographic position in the Miami Valley, sky blue for the unbounded limits or our potential, the Wright flyer connects us to our past, and remains a testament to the fact that, from Dayton, your dreams can lift the course of humanity to the heavens!"
Esteban Rivera, 18 September 2022


[Municipal seal] image located by Paul Bassinson, 9 November 2019

Paul Bassinson, 9 November 2019

1958 flag

[Flag of Dayton, Ohio] image by Blas Delgado Ortiz, 3 January 2001
Source: Flags of Ohio website

The city flag (now replaced) had the word “DAYTON” in block letters running down the left side. On the right, it has a big globe inside a bicycle cog, and a Wright Brothers biplane over the globe.

"On January 23, 1956, The Dayton Area Chamber opened a city-wide contest to replace the flag and urged the City Commission to adopt a new flag. The Chamber reasoned this because the 1917 flag had colors that “faded rapidly, making it unsuitable for public display” (namely the deep orange faded into a sickly yellow over time). They also said that the old flag was not “suitable for such a display” and they wanted something “new and modern."

The chamber held a public contest with a cash prize and judged it based on originality, simplicity, and effectiveness. Judges included Thomas C. Colt, director of the Dayton Art institute, William Chait, Montgomery County public library director, Mayor R. William Patterson, Kenneth P. Morse, Chamber president, and City Manager Herbert W. Starick.

Contest winners were Michael J. Spahr, who designed the Dayton lettering down the side, and Karen Kress, who designed the center emblem of the Kitty Hawk plane, globe, and gear. They were designed to develop the final flag, and collectively split $100.

This flag was voted to be the Flag Emeritus, a special designation in the City of Dayton Code of Ordinances, on the same day as the adoption of the new Dayton Flag on December 15, 2021."

Image of flag copied from the original located here:, source: I've seen that the "indoor" flag (as seen here, third from left to right: features a darker shade of blue and this "outdoor" color version is perhaps simply just a manufacturer variant.
Esteban Rivera, 18 September 2022

1917 flag

[Flag of Dayton, Ohio] image by BlinxCat, 31 May 2022

"The need for a Dayton flag “for local uses and to inspire civic patriotism” was identified by the directors of the Greater Dayton Association in 1915, including Houston Lowe, C. H. Kumler, Annie Campell, W. B. Werthner, and J. M. Guild, who created the process and recommended a design to the City Commission.

A cash prize was offered for the best design and was awarded to Harvey King of Dayton because “his sketch was dedicated to be the most artistic.” It was later found to be impracticable to produce, and the committee worked to make a design that “while artistic and emblematic of the city, would also be sufficiently simple for manufacturing and commercial purposes.”

Mabel Hyer (later Griep), an assistant art teacher at Steele High School was tasked in preparing the design that was later adopted (she won $25 for this). The design features a Wright Flyer in the middle and two orange stripes on either side. When Mrs. Griep went to go sketch the Wright Flyer when it was on display at the Delco electrical exposition in 1916, she said onlookers took her “for a German spy” while making her detailed sketch of the plane. She knew the Wright Brothers, and often played with their sister, Katherine, at the old bicycle shop where the Wrights conducted their experiments.

A Dayton Pennant was also designed. Both the flag and pennant include the colors deep orange to (according to Mabel) symbolize agricultural resources, white to symbolize civic righteousness, and navy blue to represent loyalty of the citizens. Both were eventually adopted by the City Commission on August 15, 1917."
Sources:, and

Image of flag copied from the original located here:,
Esteban Rivera, 18 September 2022