News Home
Quick Bites
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
On AirNewsClassical
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.


Northeast Ohio Medical University

Area Agency on Aging 10B, Inc.

For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )

Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us

Ohio turns 210, flag turns 111
Ohio flag designed by Cleveland architect John Eisenmann

Mark Urycki
The first Ohio flag. It flew over the Ohio building at the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo in 1901.
Courtesy of Ohio Historical Society
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

Today is Ohio’s 210th birthday –it's the day the state legislature first met. But Ohio’s distinctive flag was not created until 99 years later. The story, from WKSU’s Mark Urycki.

Click to listen

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (1:22)

A decade after Cleveland architect John Eisenmann designed and built the Cleveland Arcade, he was asked to build the Ohio building for the Pan-American Exposition of 1901 in Buffalo.   “And when he recognized there was no flag to fly over the Ohio building, he went about designing a flag.”

That’s Tom Rieder, reference archivist at the Ohio Historical society.  He notes that later that year, in September, President William McKinley from Canton was assassinated at the Exposition.

But when it began Ohio was the only state in the nation still without an official flag. Eisenmann came up with the distinctive swallow-tail pennant shape because he wanted something unique.  Rieder says the red and white stripes symbolized Ohio’s roads and canals.

“We have the 13 stars around the large red and white circle – that would be the 13 original colonies.  The 4 stars outside the circle would be the 4 states added to the union from 13 original colonies.  The 17th star right at the point of the triangle would be Ohio.“  

The first Ohio flag.  Details at Ohio Memory.

The red circle was the O in Ohio, as well as a reference to the buckeye. Rieder says the legislature loved the banner and made it Ohio’s official flag May 9th 1902. Cuba officially adopted its similar looking flag two weeks later.  But both the Cuban and Puerto Rican flags have origins that go back to the mid-1800’s. 

Listener Comments:

Happy Anniversary Ohio Flag! Your flag also is the only one to have a US Patent assigned to it and the only "burgee" shaped governmental flag like it in the world. (Nepal is similar) The five stripes were also reported to represent the "five northwest territories" (Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois,

Posted by: Robert Williamson (Columbus, NC) on March 2, 2013 12:03PM
OOPS: Happy 210 years Ohio and Happy 111 years Ohio Flag!

Posted by: Robert Williamson (Columbus, NC) on March 2, 2013 12:03PM
Add Your Comment


E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook

Stories with Recent Comments

Kasich campaign evokes dark images of a Trump presidency

Backers of legalizing marijuana in Ohio promise to be back in 2016
We should be aloud to grow more than 4 plants and not have to register with the state considering it will be a free market.

Akron says it's had no second thoughts about welcoming refugees
What business does Councilman Neal own on North Hill? I'd love to support him. I am so glad to have the refugees in our neighborhood. I have lived here for 25 ...

Scarborough says the University of Akron is trying to rebuild relationships
In order for the University of Akron to grow and become a desirable place for students across Ohio and elsewhere, it must address the crime problem in the Akron...

Ohio Sen. Cliff Hite wants to end pay-to-play sports fees at Ohio's schools
You can bet Hite and Husted will also rush to the rescue of the Academic Challenge team, the speech-and-debate squad, the Science Olympians and the chess club. ...

Ohio lawmakers consider new gun bills
States that have gun restrictions/cities have reduced gun violence is false. CHICAGO has some of the toughest gun laaws/restrictions but yet fun violence is off...

Cleveland's public transit system considers fare increase for 2016
I work with individuals with disabilities. Yes some of my folks need more help than the average person. As a whole, the group I work with however can manuver ju...

Community group sues to re-open part of Wadsworth hospital
My father was part of the founding group of citizens which started the "new" Wadsworth/Rittman Hospital. For some reason the leadership for the future of the ho...

The Cleveland Museum of Art presents painters who loved their gardens
brilliant masterpiece, Greetings from

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University