Chicago now has a holiday dedicated to its iconic four-starred flag.
The date was chosen because April 4, 2017 marks the 100th anniversary
of the City Council accepting the 1917 design by journalist, author and poet Wallace Rice
as Chicago’s official flag.
Wallace designed the Chicago flag with a white base divided into thirds symbolizing the North, West and South sides of town. The two dividing blue bars represent Lake Michigan and both branches of the Chicago River. And each of the six points of the four stars has its own significance.
Originally, Chicago’s flag only had two stars. The additional two stars — one each for Chicago’s world’s fairs — were an afterthought.
And what does it all mean?… well, according to Wikipedia…
The three white background areas of the flag represent, from top to bottom, the North, West and South sides of the city. The top blue stripe represents Lake Michigan and the North Branch of the Chicago River. The bottom blue stripe represents the South Branch of the river and the “Great Canal”, over the Chicago Portage.The lighter blue on the flag is variously called sky blue or pale blue;in a 1917 article of a speech by Rice, it was called “the color of water”.
There are four red six-pointed stars on the center white stripe. From left to right:
The first star represents Fort Dearborn. It was added to the flag in 1939. Its six points symbolize transportation, labor, commerce, finance, populousness, and salubrity.
The second star stands for the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, and is original to the 1917 design of the flag. Its six points represent the virtues of religion, education, aesthetics, justice, beneficence, and civic pride.
The third star symbolizes the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, and is original to the 1917 design. Its six points stand for political entities Chicago has belonged to and the flags that have flown over the area: France, 1693; Great Britain, 1763; Virginia, 1778; the Northwest Territory, 1789; Indiana Territory, 1802; and Illinois (territory, 1809, and state, since 1818).
The fourth star represents the Century of Progress Exposition (1933–1934), and was added in 1933. Its points refer to bragging rights: the United States’ second largest city (became third largest in a 1990 census when passed by Los Angeles); 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.
but it’s pretty cool to have an actual Chicago Flag Day, right?!