The History of the Washington State Flag

Like the country’s 49 other states, Washington has an official flag. Known as the Washington state flag, it depicts George Washington against a green background. It’s the only state flag featuring an American president, and it’s the only state flag with a green field. Aside from being unique, however, there’s a rich story behind the Washington state flag that many people don’t know.

Origins of the Washington State Flag

The Washington state flag was adopted in 1923. During this year, lawmakers in The Evergreen State passed a law declaring the aforementioned design as the state’s official flag. Why did the lawmakers choose this design exactly?

In 1914, members of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) in Washington requested a flag to be sent to Washington D.C. There was no official Washington state flag at the time, so they decided to design their own flag. Using the Seal of Washington against a green background, they created the modern-day Washington state flag. It cost approximately $48 to produce the first official Washington state flag. After being manufactured in Washington D.C., it was sent back to the DAR’s chapter in Washington.

Here are some fun facts about the Washington state flag:

  • It uses “Irish Green” as the background or field color.
  • While optional, the Washington state flag can be designed with gold fringe.
  • It’s the only state flag depicting a president.
  • Like the Seal of Washington, it features the phrase “Seal of the State of Washington” around an image of the country’s first president.
  • The seal was modernized in the mid- to late 1960s with an updated design.

Displayed With the American Flag

You’ll typically see the Washington state flag displayed with the American flag. According to the Washington State Legislation website, state law requires both flags to be prominently displayed in schools, courtrooms and government buildings. When displayed on the same pole, the American flag should be flown above the Washington state flag. When displayed on separate poles, the American flag should be placed on the left pole (from the observer’s perspective), whereas the Washington state flag should be placed on the right pole.

Featuring George Washington against a green background, the state of Washington has one of the most recognizable flags in the United States. It was designed by members of the DAR in 1914. When they discovered that the state of Washington didn’t have an official flag, they created their own. Lawmakers later adopted the DAR’s design as the official flag for the state of Washington.

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