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Rosenberg Treasure: The Galveston Municipal Flag

The Galveston Municipal Flag

Rosenberg Treasure of the Month

Last Updated: May 1, 2019 by Rosenberg Library | History


During the month of May, Rosenberg Library will exhibit items related to a city-wide flag design competition held in the spring of 1916.

During the early 20th century, a national movement prompted many cities across the United States to adopt their own distinct municipal flags. These flags were flown at public buildings alongside the flags of the state and nation. By 1916, approximately 40 cities of 30,000 or more residents had adopted municipal flags.

1916 Galveston Municipal Flag

Galveston municipal flag, 1916. Designed by Perry Luth and D.K. Bowie and made by members of the Galveston YWCA
(Gift of Galveston City Council).

To celebrate the opening of Galveston’s new City Hall building on 25th Street, the YWCA and E.S. Levy and Co. co-sponsored a design competition which was formally announced in March 1916. H.H. Levy would furnish a $5.00 cash prize to the winner, and members of the YWCA would sew the flag based on the winning design. The flag was to be flown in front of City Hall during its grand unveiling. When the competition was advertised in the Galveston Daily News, much interest was generated among both school-age student artists and professional adult artists.

A panel of respected local artists including Boyer Gonzales, E.B. Harris, J.M. Maurer, and Frances Kirk were chosen to serve on a selection committee. Designs were to include symbols related to the island’s colorful history. Additionally, the designs could incorporate local interests and activities unique to Galveston.

The selection committee narrowed the field to twelve finalists, and these designs were presented to the city commissioners for their consideration.

The winning design was announced on April 20, 1916. It was co-submitted by Perry Luth and D.K. Bowie, and the pair split the $5.00 cash prize. Luth was a mechanical engineer who worked as a manufacturer’s agent, and Bowie was a draftsman employed by North American Dredging Company. Their design featured the coat of arms of Bernardo de Galvez at the center framed by a wreath of oleanders. Surrounding it were the flags of the six nations flown over Texas at various times in its history—Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the Confederate States of America, and the United States of America.

Percy Holt Design For the Galveston Municipal Flag

Artist Percy Holt’s Design For the Galveston Municipal Flag, 1916
(Gift of Percy Holt).

To celebrate the opening of Galveston’s new City Hall building on 25th Street, the YWCA and E.S. Levy and Co. co-sponsored a design competition which was formally announced in March 1916. H.H. Levy would furnish a $5.00 cash prize to the winner, and members of the YWCA would sew the flag based on the winning design. The flag was to be flown in front of City Hall during its grand unveiling. When the competition was advertised in the Galveston Daily News, much interest was generated among both school-age student artists and professional adult artists.

A panel of respected local artists including Boyer Gonzales, E.B. Harris, J.M. Maurer, and Frances Kirk were chosen to serve on a selection committee. Designs were to include symbols related to the island’s colorful history. Additionally, the designs could incorporate local interests and activities unique to Galveston.

The selection committee narrowed the field to twelve finalists, and these designs were presented to the city commissioners for their consideration.

The winning design was announced on April 20, 1916. It was co-submitted by Perry Luth and D.K. Bowie, and the pair split the $5.00 cash prize. Luth was a mechanical engineer who worked as a manufacturer’s agent, and Bowie was a draftsman employed by North American Dredging Company. Their design featured the coat of arms of Bernardo de Galvez at the center framed by a wreath of oleanders. Surrounding it were the flags of the six nations flown over Texas at various times in its history—Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the Confederate States of America, and the United States of America.


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Rosenberg Library

Rosenberg Library has offered over a century of community service to the Galveston area, and is the oldest public library in Texas in continuous operation. The building itself was dedicated on June 22, 1904, the birthday of its patron, Henry Rosenberg. The Moody Memorial Wing opened in 1971, more than doubling the floor space and allowing for a children’s library, a history center, several galleries to showcase museum collections, and later, a computer lab. The Library accepted its first museum piece shortly after it opened in 1904. Since then, thousands of rare and interesting objects from around the world have been added to the collection. Each month they display a “Treasure of the Month”. Learn more by visiting the Rosenberg Library page and the Gifts of Henry Rosenberg section.

2020-01-22T15:13:06-05:00

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This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.

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