35 years ago my father, Dwight Umber, was upgrading our lawn & garden department. We had been selling American flags for quite a while, but when he noticed the Fort Wayne flag flying over a city building, he knew that he had to have them in our stores. And he did! Fast forward. When we upgraded our lawn & garden department a few years ago, it seemed natural to do the same. And we did! So here is a little info about our great Fort Wayne flag.
The flag we see today was adopted as the official Fort Wayne flag by the city council in 1934. The white stripes represent our three rivers. The St. Marys and St. Joseph joining to form the Maumee. The red, white, and blue colors were adopted from the flag of the United States. The Miami Indian head represents our native inhabitants to the area. The fleur-de-lis represents the former French control of the area. And the lion represents the same for the British. The blockhouse in the center represents our pioneer settlement days. And 1794 was the year the city of Fort Wayne was founded.
The whole idea of an official Fort Wayne flag started during our centennial celebration in 1916. The Journal Gazette sponsored a city flag design contest. Guy Drewitt’s winning design included the current white “Y” stripes on a blue field, and had two white stars, representing that Fort Wayne was Indiana’s 2nd largest city, where the fleur-de-lis and the lion are today. The story goes that Guy went around the city selling his flag in preparation for the centennial with the tagline of, buy a flag from “the Guy That Drew It”!
In 1934 Drewitt, along with veteran and historian Col. Clyde Dreisbach, redesigned the flag. The stars were replaced with icons that better represent out city’s history. And on June 26, 1934, this final design of the Fort Wayne flag was adopted by the City Council. Mr. Drewitt was so proud of his accomplishment, his tombstone reads “Designed the flag of Fort Wayne – 1916”.
I don’t normally suggest that people come into our stores for a specific product, but stop on in and check out our great Fort Wayne flag. And thanks dad, for getting all this Fort Wayne flag stuff started!