In Time for Flag Day, A Restored and Historic District Flag Returns to the Wilson Building

In Time for Flag Day, A Restored and Historic District Flag Returns to the Wilson Building

Those familiar with the Wilson Building know that a large District flag has hung outside the Council Chamber since 2008, the year of the Building’s centennial.

But beyond its apparent age, no one knew that flag’s full history.

Now, the story of the flag has been uncovered, and the flag itself has been professionally cleaned and conserved. Today, in time for Flag Day, this historic symbol has returned to its prominent perch.

The District flag’s design was selected in 1938, after an extended competition. It was modeled after George Washington’s family coat of arms. District Commissioner Melvin Hazen debuted the flag at the 1938 International Horse Show.

In May of 1943, an early example of the new flag was brought to Capitol Hill and presented to the House District Committee. And there the flag remained, in the Committee’s offices--a witness to history as the District was gradually granted Home Rule.

In 1995, when the District Committee was abolished, Committee staffer and historian Nelson Rimensnyder took stewardship of the flag. He first offered it to former Michigan Representative Charles Diggs, who had chaired the Committee at the time the Home Rule Act passed the Congress.  Representative Diggs suggested the flag might more appropriately find a permanent home in the District, and in 2008, for the Wilson Building’s centennial, it came home to stay.

Having been displayed publicly first on Capitol Hill, and then at the Wilson Building, for roughly 75 years, the flag was showing a bit of its age. That is why the Council contracted with Brierwood Consultants, a prominent local paper and textile conservation firm, to professionally and lovingly clean and conserve this historic emblem.

Today, on Flag Day, the restored flag was rehung outside the Council Chamber, where it is once again a source of pride and hope to District residents.

See below for photos of the flag before, during, and after its restoration


In other Flag Day-related news: By District law, the “No Taxation Without Representation” version of the District flag must fly outside the Wilson Building on this date each year.  You can see a photo of this version of the flag at the end of this document.


Our flag is presented to the House District Committee

Our flag is taken down and carefully rolled up by the conservator chosen to clean and preserve it.

The impact of the preservation work is abundantly clear.

Earlier today, the flag returned home just in time for Flag Day.

In other Flag Day-related news: By District law, the “No Taxation Without Representation” version of the District flag must fly outside the Wilson Building on this date each year.