Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Flag of Detroit

While David E. Heinman created the Flag of Detroit in 1907, it was not officially adopted by the city until 1948. The background of the flag commemorates the countries that have controlled the city over the years, and it is divided into four different sections. The lower left features the fleur-de-lis to represent France, who founded Detroit in 1701.  The upper right includes the gold lions of Great Britain, who controlled the city from 1760-1796. The upper left and the lower right sections represent the United States, the thirteen stripes and thirteen stars stand for the thirteen original colonies. 

The seal in the middle of the flag represents the fire that destroyed the city in 1805. Two women stand in the foreground while the city burns in the background.  The woman on the left weeps over the destruction, while the woman on the right consoles her by gesturing to a new city that will rise in its place.  Two Latin mottos read “Speramus Meliora” (meaning “We hope for better things) and “Resurget Cineribus” (meaning “It will rise from the ashes").



Original sketch of the Flag of Detroit, 1907

Flag of Detroit postcard, 1950s

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