The Chicago Flag

Every where you look in Chicago you’ll see the Chicago Flag. It doesn’t just fly from flag poles. It can be seen in bars and restaurants, incorporated into the logos of Chicago businesses, and even tattoos. Not only does the flag as a whole symbolize the city’s pride, it also represents the area’s geography and several important moments in Chicago’s history.

What do the blue stripes represent?

The blue stripes represent the major bodies of water around Chicago. The top stripe represents Lake Michigan. The bottom represents the Chicago River.

What do the write stripes represent?

The white stripes represent, from top to bottom, the north, west, and south sides of the city. There is no east since that’s already represented by a blue stripe for Lake Michigan.


Six-pointed stars are used because at the time the flag was made (1917) there were no other city flags that featured six pointed stars. Additionally, five pointed stars represent sovereign states.

What do the stars represent?

Not only does each star represent something, but each point on each star is also significant.

Star one: Fort Dearborn with the six points of the star representing transportation, labor, commerce, finance, populousness, and salubrity.

Star two: The great Chicago fire of 1871 with the six points of the star representing the virtues of religion, education, aesthetics, justice, beneficence, and civic pride

Star three: The world fair of 1893 with the six points of the star representing different political experiences Chicago has belonged to and the flags that have flown over the city: France 1693, Great Britain 1763, Virginia 1778, the Northwest Territory 1798, Indiana Territory 1802, and Illinois 1818.

Star four: The century of progress exposition with the six points of the star representing bragging rights – the United States’ 2nd Largest City (at the time), Chicago’s Latin Motto (Urbs in horto – City in a garden), Chicago’s “I Will” Motto, the Great Central Marketplace, Wonder City, and Convention City.

Chicagoans are proud of their flag because it represents so many aspects of their city. Next time you’re in Chicago, see how many flags you can find. You may be surprised at the number of times you spot it.