2013-06-12 / Features

Queens Flag And Its Origin

BY NICOLAS FERNANDES


Image courtesy Office of the Queens Borough President Image courtesy Office of the Queens Borough President Queens has had its own flag for many years, but very few people know about its origin.

In early 1913, the Chamber of Commerce of Queens suggested to Borough President Maurice E. Connolly that there be an official Queens flag. Connolly agreed and appointed Rodman J. Pearson to sketch drafts of the flag. E. Hageman Hall, president of the New York Historical Society, requested several changes be made. The final version of the flag was finished on Jun. 3, 1913.

The blue and white stripes represent Dutch Governor William Kieft’s shield. Kieft bought Queens County from the Indians on Nov. 1, 1683. It included present day Queens County, Nassau County and part of Western Suffolk County. The circle of wampum (white shell beads) symbolize the Indian name for Long Island, Seawanhaka. The tulip represents the Dutch, who first settled in Queens and the rose represents the House of York and Lancaster.

The Queens crown, in the upper lefthand corner, symbolizes the name of the county and borough, honoring Queen Catherine of Braganza. The date below it is the date that Queens became a part of the city, Jan. 1, 1898.

The Chamber began displaying the flag at its regular events and headquarters in Long Island City, the Queens Borough Public Library in Jamaica and Queens Borough Hall in Kew Gardens.

The Queens flag was officially displayed for the first time at the celebration beginning construction of the borough’s dual rapid transit system on Jun. 7, 1913. For an unknown reason, it was not officially displayed at Borough Hall until Borough President George U. Harvey made it a standard on Oct. 14, 1929.

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