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Utah Flags Prior to 2011 (U.S.)

Last modified: 2024-04-13 by rick wyatt
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Pre-2011 flags of Utah

I've seen some dispute regarding if the "pre-2011" Utah flag can be considered a separate historical design as to some it was just "a mistake that had to be fixed" so many people say that the flag that was adopted over 100 years ago is the same as today, however I consider both separate designs myself because they're very different from each other and not a simple minor error.
The flag was overhauled and the style of the flag & seal both we're changed. I've seen the old Utah state flag still be used today so the error of the old flag is still very common even after 10 years of the introduction of the newer flag design, the pre-2011 flag had the most design fluctuations from what I personally saw, in some cases the following can be noticed:
-Eagle's wings are "round", straight or "sharp"
-Beehive is grey, gold or light yellow
-Industry is misspelled as "Industrv" (
-Eagle's eye faces downwards (
-Top of beehive is black or missing (
-Eagle appearing mostly brown all over (
-"1657" written instead of 1857 (
BlinxCat, 8 May 2022

Your discovery of a "more colorful" version of the Utah flag is, as you point out, another example of a manufacturers’ incorrect interpretation used as an "historical design" of the flag. Ever since the state seal (upon which the Utah State flag's design is based) was designed by Harry Emmett Edwards in 1896 there have been more variants of the Utah State flag manufactured than almost any other state flag. In fact, one might say there are as many variants as there have been individuals or manufacturers making them.

I'd like to share a modern example I personally found particularly enlightening. In 2011 Utah vexillologists John Hartvigsen and Ron Fox successfully mounted a campaign (started in the 1980s) to correct the state flag and the “incorrect” variants being manufactured. In the process they discovered a 1903 St. Louis World's Fair variant of the flag that they felt most correctly matched the official written description of the state seal. They had 100 prototype versions of a flag manufactured using this corrected design. In 2011 State Representative Julie Fisher sponsored a resolution that was passed admonishing flag manufacturers to make the Utah State flag in accordance with existing State law and the flag's history based on their research. Hartvigsen thought the problem was finally solved and from that time forth the flag would properly be manufactured as in the approved prototype versions. I know this because John gave me one of the prototype versions which I still have.

Now the fog of flag design and manufacturing sets in. An artist at the Colonial Flag Company had originally produced the artwork for the corrected prototype Utah State flag used during the legislative process, so the Colonial Flag Company was now ready to produce that variant for the Utah State flag. But then Paul Swenson, who as the President of Colonial Flag Company, and who had paid for the prototype design, felt the eagle as shown in that design was weak and unattractive. You guessed it, he had graphic artist Perry Van Schelt change the design, and used the new variant design in his first run - following the correct written description of the design, but they made some artistic interpretive changes to the artwork. The variant flag design used the same colors as employed in the prototype, but “enhanced” it, especially on how the eagle’s head position was shown. Both the prototype and enhanced design are now considered correct, since they both follow the law and intent of the 2011 legislation, but they are different. Only a few hundred flags ordered using the first approved prototype design were manufactured, and now most Utah State flags being made and sold use some sort of enhanced design because legally any flag manufacturer is basically free to use their own versions, so it has all began again.

You may enjoy further information at: and 
Pete Loeser, 9 May 2022

Utah Territorial flag

[1903 Flag of Utah] image by BlinxCat, 9 March 2024
based on photo

I was watching the Utah State flag raising via livestream recently, and behind the podium were a series of historical flags from the Territory up until the present day.

The first flag in the flags was, as I mentioned above, the supposed territorial flag of the
state. I have included some photos of it from the livestream.
BlinxCat, 9 March 2024

1903 Unofficial flag

[1903 Flag of Utah]
image submitted by Esteban Rivera, 10 March 2011
  [1903 Flag of Utah]
image submitted by Esteban Rivera, 10 March 2011

Utah's first flag was made in 1903. Here is the story and photo of it:
However, the legislature did not make this the design of the official state flag until 1911. On April 8, 1911, the Salt Lake Telegram refers to a "new Utah state flag of blue." Whether this refers to the 1903 flag (newly designated as the state flag) or a newly stitched flag is unclear.

Valentin Poposki, 10 July 2010

The World's Fair at St. Louis in 1904 wanted a flag from every state for a parade of states. Governor Wells had asked the Utah chapter of the Daughters of American Revolution to provide a flag for Utah to hang at the Lewis and Clark Exposition in St. Louis. The DAR collected $1 from each of its members to pay for the flag. In April 1903, they presented the governor with "a very handsome state flag, just completed by the art department of Z.C.M.I." - valued at $150 (Deseret News, April 25, 1903). The Z.C.M.I. embroiderer who stitched all those white stitches was Agnes Teudt Fernelius. The governor and a delegation took this flag to St. Louis for the centennial of Lewis and Clark's expedition in May 1903. During this trip, they also chose a site for Utah's pavilion at the Exposition, which would take place in 1904. However, by October of 1903, the Daughters of the American Revolution had realized that this flag didn't match the state seal. Also, because the state legislature had not commissioned the flag, it could only be used as the Governor's regimental flag, not as the official state flag. They arranged for their flag to be altered to match the state seal. Presumably, as planned, this flag hung at the Lewis and Clark Exposition and at other state functions.
source: Utah State History
Esteban Rivera, 10 March 2011

1913 Flag

[1913 Flag of Utah] image submitted by Esteban Rivera, 10 March 2011

In 1912, the Sons and Daughters of Utah Pioneers commissioned a flag for the new battleship Utah. They ordered the flag from a company on the East Coast, the Wm. H. Horstmann Co. This company went above and beyond - embroidering the design in color, including a gold circle around the design.

Rather than redo the flag, in 1913 the Utah Legislature changed the law to specify a flag with these colors.

By the way, this flag was framed and probably hung in the wardroom of the Utah. Very likely it went down with the ship on December 7, 1941, when Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbor.

source: Utah State History
Esteban Rivera, 10 March 2011

1922 Flag

In 1921, New York City asked Governor Charles Mabey to loan the Utah state flag for a "parade of states."

But Utah didn't have a state flag at the time. So again, instead of ordering one with state funds, the governor asked if a private group could step forward and provide a flag.

The "Womans Relief Corp. Auxiliary to the G.A.R. [Grand Army of the Republic]" took the challenge. Dollie McGonegal stitched a flag for this purpose, and that flag eventually made its way to State History collections.
source: Utah State History
Esteban Rivera, 10 March 2011

Erroneously Manufactured Design

[Erroneously Manufactured Flag of Utah] image by Clay Moss, 10 March 2009

This is the common variant with the incorrect shield that was in use from 1912-2010.

The Utah flag, adopted in 1913, consists of a blue field in which is centered the Great Seal of Utah. The Great Seal consists of a thin gold circle, which encloses the coat of arms. The coat of arms contains of a beehive which has the state motto "INDUSTRY" arced above and the word "UTAH" below, and is flanked by sego lilies, the state flower. Six arrows originate from above "INDUSTRY" and go out past the border of the shield. An eagle is perched on top of the shield, ready to take flight. The shield is flanked by United States flags on both sides, their poles crossed behind the shield, and has "1847", the year of Mormon settlement immediately below, and "1896", the year of statehood further below. For display during special state events and for display at the state capitol and governors mansion, the flag is fringed with gold tassels on the three edges away from the flag pole.
Jeff Luck, 13 January 1997

Utah Code
63-13-5. The state flag of Utah shall be a flag of blue field, fringed, with gold borders, with the following device worked in natural colors on the center of the blue field: The center a shield: above the shield and thereon an American eagle with outstretched wings; the top of the shield pierced with six arrows arranged crosswise; upon the shield under the arrows the word "industry," and below the word "Industry" on the center of the shield, a beehive; on each side of the beehive, growing sego lilies; below the beehive and near the bottom of the shield, the word "Utah," and below the word "Utah" and on the bottom of the shield, the figures "1847"; with the appearance of being back of the shield there shall be two American flags on flagstaffs placed crosswise with the flags so draped that they will project beyond each side of the shield, the heads of the flagstaffs appearing in front of the eagle's wings and the bottom of each staff appearing over the face of the draped flag below the shield and flags and upon the blue field, the figures "1896"; around the entire design, a narrow circle of gold.
Joe McMillan, 21 February 2000

A more colorful design

[A more colorful design] image by BlinxCat, 8 May 2022

This is a more "colorful" version of the Utah flag I've seen, this rendition traces to CorelDraw, a company that made tons of 1990s era clipart, this flag I've spotted in decal and even table flag form once but likely made by 3rd party flag companies overseas.
BlinxCat, 8 May 2022

State Seal Until 2011

[State Seal of Utah]
image submitted by Esteban Rivera, 10 March 2011
source: Wikipedia

In 1896, the State Seal was designed by Harry E. Edmunds and C. M. Jackson.
Esteban Rivera, 10 March 2011