Among fifty state flags, some of them definitely stand out with their unique features. What is the only state flag that is two-sided? That would be the flag of Oregon. As a matter of fact, there is only one more like this in the whole world (the flag of Paraguay).
Let’s take a closer look at the Oregon flag to explain the phenomenon and see what other features make it so special.
When It Became Unique
The design for the original Oregon flag was approved by the legislature back in 1925. Still, it was not until 1971 that the flag of Oregon became unique for its two-sidedness. That’s the year when the flag of Massachusetts was altered to be only one-sided.
What’s on the Front
Besides the “State of Oregon” in capital letters, the first thing we notice is the year 1859. That’s the year Oregon joined the rest of the states and became part of the union. As you may have guessed, the thirty-three stars remind us of the fact Oregon was the 33rd state to join. The stars are encircling the state seal which is dominated by the words and the eagle, the symbol of America, at the top.
The central image is very picturesque. We can observe the sun setting over the Pacific Ocean with two ships, mountains, forests, and even a wagon. The two ships are very symbolic. The one leaving is a British warship while the one coming is a US ship and it represents trading. It can also be interpreted that the UK set the foundation but it was/is the USA that has the power over the western hemisphere.
Besides trading, Oregon is also famous for farming and mining (hence the representations of wheat, a plow, and a pickax.
There’s also a small banner below the covered wagon saying “The Union” as an extra sign of support for the USA. As for the wagon, it clearly pays tribute to the early settlers.
What’s on the Back
What else could be on the reverse side of the Beaver State flag than a beaver itself?
Back in the day (19th century, to be more precise) beaver fur was an extremely popular choice for fur hats. At the time when Oregon was still being settled, the fur trade was crucial to the state economy. For this reason, the biggest North American rodent has become the state animal and it is duly represented on the flag.
Who Created the Oregon State Flag?
Curiously, Oregon was one of the last states to get a flag of their own. J.M. Jones, Portland’s postmaster, made a request for the Oregon flag since they needed it for the U.S. Post Office Department display.
So when they finally made the flag, Oregonians made it two-sided. The flag is based on the 19th-century military flag (which didn’t have a beaver on the back side). Seamstresses Blanche Cox and Marjorie Kennedy from the Meier & Frank Department Store in Portland were the creators of the very first Oregon flag.
Will There Be a New Oregon Flag?
Probably not, even though in 2008-2009 the Oregonianorganized a contest for a new state flag. 2,500 potential designs arrived at the address, but the governor and the legislature were not keen on replacing the state flag.