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Charleston, Illinois (U.S.)

Coles County

Last modified: 2015-08-14 by rick wyatt
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[Charleston, Illinois flag] image located by Chris Bedwell, 11 May 2015

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Description of the Flag

I've been receiving a trade magazine at work called The Municipal, and for the past 2 or 3 months they've had a feature called "Flags of Our Cities". The edition I received today contained the flag of Charleston, Illinois.

From "The Municipal":

Charleston, Illinois.
Settled 1826. Population 21,838 (2010) 
The city flag of Charleston, Ill., shows at its center a version of the city seal that was probably created in honor of its sesquicentennial celebration in 1985. Charleston was organized as a village in 1835 and incorporated as a town on March 2, 1839. It became a city on Feb. 9, 1865. According to City Clerk Deborah Muller, it may be that the flag was created for that celebration.

The original seal merely stated "City of Charleston, Illinois" at the top, with "1865" at the bottom and the seal in the middle. The seal depicts the four main areas of commerce and sources of pride in Charleston. Clockwise from upper left, they are:
- a gear, representing industry
- "Old Main," representing Eastern Illinois University
- Abraham Lincoln on horseback, representing the city's connection to the Land of Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln practiced law in the Coles County Courthouse, and Charleston is the county seat and home to the courthouse. Lincoln also rode the circuit through Charleston, and one of the celebrated Lincoln/Douglas debates took place at the Coles County Fairgrounds - also located in Charleston.
- an ear of corn, representing agriculture - the foundation of Charleston's early commerce.

Extending in white from center city seal are similar but larger graphic representations of the same icons. In red, from left to right, are a Trojan head, representative of Charleston High School and its colors of scarlet and gold; and a panther, representative of Eastern Illinois University. Eastern Illinois University was established in 1895 as Eastern Illinois Teachers College. "Old Main," the first building on campus, was completed in 1899. The black panther was established as the school's mascot in the 1930s and has evolved through many versions over the years. The school colors of blue and gray were established during the same period.

The city of Charleston takes pride in both its high school and university.
Chris Bedwell, 11 May 2015