Monday, May 23, 2016

Fort Wayne Flag at 100

My name is Michael Rice. I am a senior at Indiana University studying Anthropology and Folklore. This is my second summer working at the Fort Wayne History Center. I also work at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures at Indiana University. I have always loved culture and history, and museums are a great mix of the two. During my internship at the History Center I will be the 200@200 intern.
The 200@200 project is celebrating Indiana’s bicentennial with 200 objects of Fort Wayne’s history since Indiana became a state. The Fort Wayne flag is being used as a motif for the Bicentennial project. The flag was first created 100 years ago and I will be discussing its history and what the symbols represent.

A contest was sponsored by the Journal Gazette to celebrate Indiana’s centennial in 1916, and chose Guy Drewett’s rendition of the Fort Wayne city flag; however, the flag originally had just two white stars. It was redesigned by Drewett in 1934 when he added a Miami Native American head silhouette, a fleur-de-lis, and an English Lion. Guy traveled around Fort Wayne selling the flag to citizens anticipating the centennial with the slogan that he was the “Guy That Drew It,” using his name as a play on words. He was so thrilled with his creation he even had his tombstone engraved with “Designed the flag of Fort Wayne-1916.” The Fort Wayne flag represents the history of Fort Wayne through the symbols that are shown. At the center of the flag is the historic fort bisecting the date 1794, which is when Fort Wayne was founded. The pall design or “Y” shape within the flag represents the three rivers, St. Joseph, St. Marys and Maumee Rivers that make our city great. The Miami Native American head symbolizes the Miami tribe that first settled this land. The fleur-de-lis is representing the French influence of early settlers in this area. Lastly, the lion is representing the British presence. All of these symbols make up our remarkable emblem that has been flying since June 26, 1934.

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