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The Nevada State Flag That Never Was

Updated: November 23, 2020

Nevada’s history is as rich as its mines.

While reviewing Nevada’s symbols, features and images, I came across a story on a proposed state flag that never was. Flag designs need Legislative approval and this one never got it.

I couldn’t find any acceptable image of the proposed flag. The one below is the only photo I could locate, from an unidentified 1953 newspaper. So, I did a simple rendition in Photoshop and I think it came out well. See below.

My “artist’s conception” below.

The same design without my signature. You may thank me at anytime 🙂

This flag below was the complicated design to be replaced. It came about in 1929. The battle to replace the flag was chiefly about money. The design below was hand stitched in 1935 by needlewomen of the Works Project Administration (WPA). Apparently, the sagebrush wreath was quite the difficulty.


The 1929 flag’s price ranged from $20 to $60. That’s $184 to $552 in today’s money. The article below details the toil and trouble of the proposed tri-color flag, which was never approved. Perhaps machine making lowered the cost of the 1929 version.

The 1929 flag, by the way, was eventually replaced with a design in 1991 that stands to this day. But that’s another story.

From that 1953 newspaper article, the publication still not identified:

Good Cause Behind New Flag Proposal

Present One is Costly And Difficult to Decipher

There is a very practical reason behind the proposal that the Nevada legislature adopt a new design for the state flag.

Sponsors of Senate Bill 231 claim the present flag, with its intricate design, costs so much to manufacture that is is seldom bought or used.

Esthetically, there is the objection that the word “Nevada” which is strung around the five-pointed star on the flag is difficult to decipher, but the principal consideration is cost.

It was not until this week that the Reno, Las Vega and Elk Chambers of Commerce obtained a stitched up version of the proposed new flag and got Senators Kenneth Johnson and John Robbins to introduce the bill adopting the design.

Although the measure could easily get lost in the maze of legislation still pending in the final days of the session, local chamber of commerce officials are hopeful.

$7 Instead of $20

They have the word of manufacturers that the proposed flag would cost from $7 to $38.40, depending upon material and size, compared with the existing price range of from $20 to $60.

A chamber of commerce official said, “We get frequent requests for information as to where the state flag can be obtained for display purposes, but few organizations can afford to buy one. If a flag was available for $7, it would be displayed much more widely.”

There is another piece of legislation pending in Carson City which makes the cost problem even more pressing. That is a bill passed by the assembly and awaiting senate action, which would require the state and national flags to be flown daily from all public buildings in Nevada.

With the latter bill apparently heading for enactment, local school officials have expressed that the cost of the state flags will be reduced.

Governor Charles H. Russell is supporting the measure calling for the new design. He had to dole out $60 for the Nevada flag which was flown at the United Nations conference in San Francisco.

The Washoe County Bar Association is another group that was surprised at the cost when it purchased flags for the courtrooms here.

The proposed flag is the result of suggestions made by dozens of persons and organizations. The model displayed at the capitol this week was put together by the Thomas C. Wilson Advertising Agency, Reno.

The new design is a tri-color of blue, gray and white. In the white center stripe is a blood-red map in white letters across the bottom of the white stripe, in red, appears the name “Nevada.”

None of the other 48 states uses the tri-color scheme envisioned for the new Nevada flag.

After examining the flags of the other 47 states and the cost of each, the sponsors of the proposed Nevada flag believe the design would hold its own with any of the others from the standpoint of effectiveness and at the same time would bring the cost of the Nevada flag into line with the others.

Of the official flags of the 48 states and three territories, Nevada’s at the present is second only to that of Massachusetts in cost, the sponsors reported.

It is claimed that the several colors and the sagebrush wreath on the present flag make it almost excessively expensive to manufacture. The flag was adopted in 1929 and is the third in the state’s history.