Classic Chicago

History of the Chicago Flag

Ever Wonder Why the Chicago Flag Has 4 Stars?

You see it all over the city — on hats, shirts, buildings, tattoos and more. And it’s pretty damn cool if we say so ourselves. But have you ever wondered why the Chicago flag looks like it does and who designed it? The iconic look of the flag — three white stripes, two blue stripes and four six-pointed red stars — wasn’t created without thought. There’s madness to the design. And when you know it, you may want to run out and get a tattoo, too. OK, maybe start with a hat.

The three white stripes represent the North, West and South sides of the city. Those blue stripes? That’s all the water. The top stripe stands for Lake Michigan and the Chicago River’s North Branch. The lower blue stripe pays homage to the river’s South Branch and the Great Canal. The stars represent major events in the city’s history: Fort Dearborn, the Great Chicago Fire (1871) and the two world’s fairs Chicago hosted (1893 and 1933). Each point on the four stars all stand for something as well, like labor, commerce, education, civic pride and more. Ready to get that tattoo?