Flag of Milwaukee, WI

Flag of Milwaukee, WI For a city that many consider to be a big but sleepy town, Milwaukee sure has a busy flag.

Quick historical rundown: 1950s politicians decided that we needed a flag since we were one of the only cities with over 500,000 people without one. Naturally the indecisive leadership of Milwaukee, rather than picking a single superior choice from submitted designs (that’d be discriminatory!), combined parts from a bunch to create one Franken-flag.

What we were left with was voted the 4th worst flag of all major cities in the US (suck it Pocatello, Idaho). I don’t disagree with the all-knowing Interwebz; but I’d argue that good Ol’ Bluey (trademark-pending) falls into that rare breed of so-bad-it’s-good, like The Room or (Aaron’s Party) Come Get It (just kidding, Aaron, you’re my homeboy).

Why is City Hall now a giant, Sauron-esque gear? Industry, that’s why.

What’s with the Jack and the Giant Wheat-Stalk? It’s barley, n00b, and you better believe we use it for beer.

Ship, meet lake & rivers. Giant floating numerals, meet city-founding. Red-faced Native American head, meet poorly-executed homage to the land’s heritage. Don’t feel like any FIB, though, for not recognizing Milwaukee’s Civil War flag hidden in the gear (flag-ception), along with…a Newsie discovering a genie lamp at dawn? I have yet to find any explanation for the last symbol in the gear.

Then there’s the short-sighted inclusions of County Stadium (RIP) and Mecca (contemporarily known as the US Cellular Arena), as well as utilization of the worst serif WordArt since, literally, before WordArt.

But it’s hard to argue with the attractiveness of the baby-blue background, and the blue/gold color scheme is Brewers-esque (predating the team by 15 years). There are some attempts at balance in the image, and the creators did capture a lot of uniqueness. There will be no argument that this flag could be used anywhere but Milwaukee. And that’s the point of a flag anyway: represent in an immediately-identifiable way a certain place. If you saw this flag anywhere, whether you thought it was the ugliest piece of fabric you’d ever seen or the most beautiful, you’d know it was for Milwaukee.

We’re a hard-working town, with so much we’re proud of that we forced it all onto our flag. It’s like the entire city threw up on a blue piece of fabric after a hard night of drinking and thought, “That looks about right.” Tip of the cap to the best of the worst, Milwaukee’s city flag.

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