Minot’s new flag is one to be proud of

Minot now has a city flag, unfurled publicly for the first time last week at the State of the City Address. And a good flag it is. It’s just not, as some people think, the first city flag Minot has had.

You could say, however, that it is the first flag to represent the Magic City. How’s that?

It seems people have forgotten that Minot, back when local residents called their town the Wonder City, sought through a citywide contest to come up with a unique flag design to represent Minot’s history.

Here is how the Ward County Independent told the story – in 1916:

“When it was announced some time ago that there should be a contest to determine the best design for a Minot city flag it was not thought that so much interest would be aroused. Right on the heels of the announcement, however, Mayor Shaw of the city commission called up the Secretary of the Minot Association of Commerce and offered a prize of $20.00 in gold for the best design for this flag.

“According to the rules and regulations all persons under 21 years of age may compete. This allows the school to enter the contest. The rest of the rules are made to safeguard any favoritism of any kind.

“There is one particular rule that should be followed zealously and that is the one which states that designs must exemplify some specific epoch in the history of Minot. The flag must stand for something more than a name. All designs must be of uniform size in order to be entered. It is expected that all designs will be placed upon exhibit and they should all be of uniform size for that reason.

“Following will be found the rules and regulations in detail:

“Rules Governing Contest for Minot City Flag. Those entering the City Flag Contest will have to be strictly governed by the following rules and regulations:

“Size of flag when hemmed, 24×36 inches.

“Design must be simple but effective so as to cut down price of manufacture

“Design must contain the three colors of the American flag and one other color for contrast.

“Design must exemplify some specific epoch in the history of Minot.

“Outside of the words “Minot, N. D.,” no other words shall appear on the flag, except small lettering of a possible short motto. It is not obligatory to have motto on design.

“All contestants must be under 21 years of age.

“No relatives of the judges will be allowed to compete.

“Designs will be numbered and duplicate number with name of contestant sealed up in an envelope, not to be opened until contest closes.

“Written description of what design stands for must accompany the design to be used by the judges in determining suitable design.

“Designs must be made of cloth, the colors to be exactly what the designer thinks is proper. There will be no substitution of colors, or explanations of what the colors should be.

“Care should be taken not to copy any flag in existence. Design must be original.

“Contest closes p.m., May 15th, 1916.

“The judges will be Prof. A. G. Crane of the Minot Normal, Prof. Bruce Francis of the Minot Public Schools, and Captain Wheelon”

The only problem with the contest – nobody entered. Still a flag was produced, and it was raised for the first time on July 4, 1916, in Riverside Park, which is now Roosevelt Park. This is how The Independent told “the rest of the story.”

“The raising and dedication of the new Minot city flag at the flagpole in Riverside Park occurred at noon. G. D. Colcord told the story of the making of the flag and explained what it represented. Secretary Holbein conceived the idea that Minot should have a city flag following the example of many of the larger cities of the country. President Shaw offered a prize for the best design but there were no contestants. The Town Criers Club, an auxiliary of the Association of Commerce, designed the flag, which is a beauty. The first stripe is blue, representing the blue skies of North Dakota. The middle stripe is golden, emblematical of our fields of golden grain, and the black stripe represents our vast fields of lignite. In the center within a circle appears the slogan “Why Not Minot?” adopted by the Association. The outer rim of the circle is green, representing Minot’s wonderful park system. The flag contains the national colors. This is the first city flag adopted in North Dakota and will soon be on the market to take the place of pennants.”

How the city’s first flag came to be forgotten is unknown. Perhaps the coming of World War I was a factor.

What we find interesting is that the slogan “Why Not Minot?” was chosen for Minot’s flag designed more than 100 years ago. It’s a good slogan and one that has endured.

Our new flag is a good one, too. Let’s hope that residents think so as well and make use of it so it is not forgotten, like the flag of 1916.