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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (U.S.)

Last modified: 2002-11-16 by rick wyatt
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[Philadelphia, Pennsylvania] by Dave Martucci, 12 June 1997

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Description of the Flag

The original City Flag of Philadelphia consisted of the arms of the city on blue. This was replaced in 1895 by the present design. The designer, the Reverend Henry C. McCook of the Tabernacle Presbyterian Church, took the yellow and blue colors from the arms and arranged them vertically blue, yellow and blue with the arms centered on the yellow stripe. The City Council adopted the design that year.

The seal/arms were adopted in 1874: azure, a fess or, in chief a plough, in base, a ship in full sail, both proper. In other words, a blue shield with a yellow stripe across the center and a plough above and a sailing ship below, both in proper colors. Crest: a nude right arm holding a pair of scales. Supporters: two female figures, on the right side (observer's left), dressed in white and purple robes, crowned with an olive wreath and holding a scroll charged with an anchor in her right hand; on the left side (observer's right) is Ceres, dressed in white and blue robes holding a cornucopia in her left hand. The motto on a scroll below is "Philadelphia Maneto" ("Let Brotherly Love Continue").
Dave Martucci, 12 June 1997

Philadelphia City Ensign

[Philadelphia City Ensign] by Dave Martucci, 12 June 1997

The ordinance of 1895 also established a "City Ensign or Merchant Flag" to be used by City vessels on the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers. This Ensign is the same as the City Flag with the addition of 13 five-pointed azure blue stars arranged in a circle around the arms.
Dave Martucci, 12 June 1997

Philadelphia Flag without Seal

[Philadelphia Flag without Seal] Dave Martucci, 12 June 1997

The Flag Bulletin, Vol. IV, No. 1 [#13] (Fall 1964) says (pg. 9) that "... In some cases the flag is flown privately without the seal. Although not mentioned in official ordinances establishing the seal or flag, the azure blue and yellow colors commemorate the original Swedish settlement in the area ..."
Dave Martucci, 12 June 1997

Shade of Blue

[Philadelphia Flag with lighter shade of blue] by Lane Startin, 30 November 1999

In practice, the blue in the Philadelphia city flag is much lighter than what is shown on the FOTW website. Without exception, the flags flown in the city feature more of a sky blue color as shown. Philadelphia city flags without the coat of arms are quite common downtown. Being a downtown Philadelphia resident, the only place I know of that flies a flag with the coat of arms is City Hall.
Lane Startin, 30 November 1999

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