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1863 Wisconsin had not yet adopted an official State flag and the Civil War regiments in the field were requesting an official banner to fly. The legislature formed a five-member joint select committee to respond to these requests and, as a result 1863 Joint Resolution No. 4 was adopted. This resolution essentially adopted a design that was already in use by the Wisconsin regimental troops.
In 1913, this resolution finally made it into the official state statutes of the state of Wisconsin. Chapter 111, Laws of 1913 specifying a dark blue flag with the state coat of arms centered on each side, evolved into Chapter 1, section 1.08 of the Wisconsin statutes.
As with other states who chose to display the state coat of arms or seal on the official state flag, Wisconsin found that their flag was difficult to distinguish from others. After years of effort to distinguish the Wisconsin flag in some more noticable way, the enactment of Chapter 286, Laws of 1979 responded with the addition of the word “WISCONSIN” in white letters above the state coat of arms and the date that Wisconsin was admitted to the union, “1848” in white letters below the state coat of arms.
Wisconsin Flag Law
The following information was excerpted from the Wisconsin Statutes & Annotations, Sovereignty, Jurisdiction and Civil Divisions of the State, Chapter 1.
Sovereignty, Jurisdiction and Civil Divisions of the State.
1. Sovereignty and jurisdiction of the state.
Section 1.08 State flag.
1.08 State flag. (1) The Wisconsin state flag consists of the following features:
(a) Relative dimensions of 2 to 3, hoist to fly.
(b) A background of royal blue cloth.
(c) The state coat of arms, as described under s. 1.07, in material of appropriate colors, applied on each side in the center of the field, of such size that, if placed in a circle whose diameter is equal to 50% of the hoist, those portions farthest from the center of the field would meet, but not cross, the boundary of the circle.
(d) The word “WISCONSIN” in white, capital, condensed Gothic letters, one?eighth of the hoist in height, centered above the coat of arms, midway between the uppermost part of the coat of arms and the top edge of the flag.
(e) The year “1848” in white, condensed Gothic numbers, one?eighth of the hoist in height, centered below the coat of arms, midway between the lowermost part of the coat of arms and the bottom edge of the flag.
(f) Optional trim on the edges consisting of yellow knotted fringe.
(2) The department of administration shall ensure that all official state flags that are manufactured on or after May 1, 1981 conform to the requirements of this section. State flags manufactured before May 1, 1981 may continue to be used as state flags.
History: 1979 c. 286.