State flag 4.0: Nevada’s banner sees changes

Nevada’s flag flies as a solid cobalt blue. In the upper left, two sagebrush sprays with their stems crossed at the bottom form a half-wreath. Inside the sprays there’s a five-point star with one point up. “Nevada” is inscribed below the star and above the sprays in a semicircle pattern. All letters are spaced in equal increments, in the same style of letters as the words “Battle Born,” which are printed inside a scroll above the wreath just touching its tips. The scroll and “Nevada” are always yellow, and the scroll’s lettering must always be black sans serif gothic capital letters.

But it wasn’t always that way: Nevada has had four flags.

The state’s first flag design was adopted by the Legislature in 1905, more than 40 years after Nevada entered the Union. Gov. John Sparks and Col. Henry Day of Carson City, a member of the governor’s staff, designed it with a blue background and the words “Nevada” in the center, “silver” at the top and “gold” at the bottom. Thirty-six silver and gold stars represented that Nevada was the 36th state admitted to the Union.

In 1915, the Legislature repealed the 1905 Flag Act and created an official flag designed by Clara Crisler of Carson City. It had a blue background with the state seal in the center, 18 gold stars arranged around the word “Nevada,” and 18 silver stars below the words “All for Our Country.” Crisler, though, added an extra star for a total of 37, and the meaning of the stars was lost. This flag now hangs in Carson City’s Nevada State Museum.

The third flag design was adopted by the Legislature in 1929. Designed by Don Louis Shellback III, the background color remained blue, but its design changed to feature the two sagebrush sprays in the upper left, an interior five-pointed star and “Nevada” between the points. The scroll with the motto “Battle Born” signified that Nevada entered the Union during the Civil War.

In 1991 the Legislature approved a bill, sponsored by Sen. William J. Raggio, to alter the way “Nevada” is depicted on the state flag. Since October 1, 1991, the name “Nevada” has been positioned underneath instead of interspersed between the points of the star. Verne R. Horton designed the current flag.