Flag of Ohio

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Flag of Ohio.svg
Name The Ohio burgee
Use Civil and state flag
Proportion 8:13
Adopted May 9, 1902
Design Guidon consisting of 5 horizontal stripes alternating between red and white. The chevron is azure containing a white and red "O" and 17 white stars.
Designed by John Eisenmann

The flag of the state of Ohio was adopted in 1902 and designed by John Eisenmann for the 1901 Pan-American Exposition.


The Ohio state flag's design is defined in the Ohio Revised Code, section 5.01:

The flag of the state shall be burgee-shaped. It shall have three red and two white horizontal stripes that represent the roads and waterways of the state. The union of the flag shall be seventeen five-pointed stars, white in a blue triangular field that represents the state's hills and valleys, the base of which shall be the staff end or vertical edge of the flag, and the apex of which shall be the center of the middle red stripe. The stars shall be grouped around a red disc superimposed upon a white circular "O." The thirteen stars grouped around the "O" represent the original states of the United States and the four stars added to the peak of the triangle symbolize that Ohio was the seventeenth state admitted to the union. The "O" represents the "O" in "Ohio" and suggests the state's nickname, the buckeye state. The proportional dimensions of the flag and of its various parts shall be according to the official design on file in the office of the secretary of state. ...

—ORC §5.01
A typical 34-star Union guidon, carried by many Ohio cavalry units during the Civil War

Ohio's flag is the only non-rectangular U.S. state flag. It is a rare example of a non-quadrilateral civil flag, another well-known example being the flag of Nepal. It is loosely based upon cavalry flags of the Civil War and Spanish-American War. The flag has been officially defined as a "burgee" since 2002,[1][2] even though burgees are typically used as maritime flags.

In addition to resembling the letter O and a buckeye nut, the flag's annulus also represents "the original territory of Ohio" in the Northwest Territory.[3]


Original design by Eisenmann[3]

The flag was designed by Cleveland architect John Eisenmann to fly over his Ohio Building at the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York.[1] The wool flag is now held in the Ohio History Connection collections.[4] Eisenmann won a U.S. design patent for his design, which he described as "a triangular forked or swallow-tailed flag corresponding to the shape generally known as a 'cavalry-guidon' or 'broad pennant.'"[5] The next year, State Representative William S. McKinnon, a member of the Ohio Pan-American Exposition Commission, introduced a bill that made Eisenmann's design official. It became law on May 9, 1902.[6]

The flag initially saw little use. At the time, comparisons were made to the flags of Cuba and Japan.[7][6]


On commemorating the 100th anniversary of the creation of the Ohio flag in 2002 the Ohio General Assembly adopted a salute to the flag:

I salute the flag of the state of Ohio and pledge to the Buckeye State respect and loyalty.


The flag forms the basis of the logo of the NHL hockey team, the Columbus Blue Jackets.[8] It is also regularly flown by The Ohio State University Marching Band during football games. Specifically, the flag of Ohio is flown by the percussion section of the band (JI-Row) which has embraced the flag as its row mascot.

Folding the flag[edit]

A method of folding the flag of Ohio was created by Alex Weinstock, an Ohio Boy Scout, for his Eagle Scout service project, which was passed by the 125th Ohio General Assembly as House Bill 552, and signed into law by Governor Bob Taft on February 15, 2005:[9]

The general assembly hereby establishes a recommended procedure for the folding of the state flag by two people. The procedure is as follows:

With the flag unfolded, fold the flag in half lengthwise so that the points of the flag are aligned. Fold the flag in half lengthwise a second time to form a long strip with the red disc facing the ground. Next, fold the pointed end back onto itself to form a rectangle. These steps entail three folds.

Starting on the end formed by the fold of the pointed end back onto itself, fold two inches of the flag onto itself for a flag with a three-foot hoist and a five-foot fly, or another appropriate width of fold for a flag of a different size. Repeat the folds a total of fourteen times, alternating the folds in a fan-like manner.

The result is a total of seventeen folds symbolizing that Ohio was the seventeenth state admitted to the Union. Finally, neatly and snugly wrap the remaining length of flag around the fan-folds to form a compact rectangle.
ORC §5.014[10]

Flag of the Governor[edit]

Standard of the Governor of Ohio

The flag of the Governor of Ohio consists of the Great Seal of Ohio encompassed with white stars on a field of red. Like most U.S. Governors' flags, there are four five-point stars at the corners of the field. The flag is prescribed in the Ohio Revised Code §5.011,[11] and was adopted on September 30, 1963.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "State Flag of Ohio: The Ohio Burgee". Profile Ohio. Columbus, Ohio: Ohio Secretary of State. 2011. Retrieved July 28, 2014. 
  2. ^ 124 SB 240
  3. ^ a b Eisenmann, John (1901). "The Ohio State Flag" – via Ohio Memory. 
  4. ^ Eisenmann, John (1901). "Flag Burgee". OCLC 70657823 – via Ohio Memory. 
  5. ^ US patent D34810S, John Eisenmann, "Design for a flag", issued 1901-07-23  (US D34810 S via Google Patents)
  6. ^ a b Huntington, Webster Perit, ed. (July 1906). "The Flag of Ohio (editorial)". The Ohio Illustrated Magazine 1 (1): 96–97 – via Google Books. 
  7. ^ Galbreath, Charles Burleigh (1902). "Seals and Ohio flag". Monthly Bulletins of the Ohio State Library (Columbus, Ohio: Ohio Board of Library Commissioners) 2 (4): 1–5 – via Google Books. 
  8. ^ "Jackets unveil new uniforms". The Columbus Dispatch. 23 June 2007. Retrieved 27 December 2013. 
  9. ^ 125 HB 552
  10. ^ 5.014 Procedure for folding state flag, Ohio Revised Code
  11. ^ Ohio Revised Code §5.011

External links[edit]