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Who Designed the Indianapolis Flag?

Former Herron School of Art and Design student Roger Gohl designed the Indianapolis flag, which was adopted by the city on May 20, 1963. The red, white, and blue Indianapolis flag represents a rough map of the Circle City’s center, with its lateral line representing the popular east-west Market Street, and the longitudinal line symbolizing Indy’s well-traveled north-south corridor, Meridian Street.

The star symbolizes Indy’s core: Monument Circle and its namesake Soldiers and Sailors Monument
, which annually attracts thousands of tourists and city residents alike and where hundreds of annual events, concerts, and rallies are held. The blue quadrants of the city’s banner represent residential areas, and the red is said to signify Indy’s driving force for progress, which can be seen in its ever-growing cityscape, its well of Indianapolis restaurants, its Indianapolis cultural districts, and its industries. So well-liked was Gohl’s design of the Indianapolis flag that it was ranked eighth best of 150 American city flags by the North American Vexillogical Association.

Prior to being founded as the new state capital in 1820 (Corydon was the capital before Indianapolis took its role), the Circle City wasn’t much more than a swampland called the Fall Creek Settlement. Fur traders populated the area after a European American settler George Pogue was said to have first made his way to the land in March of 1819.

With Indianapolis in its new role as the state capital, the state commissioned Alexander Ralston to design the city around 1825, and Ralston, along with Elias Pym Fordham, quickly got to work. One of their tasks was to fashion a mansion in downtown Indianapolis to serve as the state governor’s residence. The luxurious quarters were to be called the Governor’s Circle, and though they were created for dwelling, no governor ever lived there, as the mansion lacked privacy in its centralized location. Eventually the homestead was demolished, making way for Monument Circle, the site of many things to do in Indianapolis and host to much Indianapolis history today.