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White Plains Woman's Club Donated City's First Flag 68 Years Ago

Ethel Kent, president of the White Plains Woman's Club in 1949, presents the city's first official flag to the mayor, Silas Clark, during a special ceremony. Photo Credit: White Plains Woman's Club
White Plains Mayor Thomas Roach, along with Chris Roithmayr, of the White Plains Woman's Club, display the city's flag. Photo Credit: White Plains Woman's Cub
This is a replica of the design for city's first official flag. Photo Credit: White Plains Woman's Club

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- It's been 68 years since the White Plains Woman's Club donated its first official city flag along with an American flag on March 23, 1949.

Ethel Kent, president of the Woman’s Club, and Ella Sikes, chairwoman of the Civic Committee, presented the flags to Silas S. Clark, who was mayor of White Plains at the time.

When White Plains officially became a city in 1916, an official city seal had been adopted, but an official city flag had not.

During a meeting for the planning of the Independence Day celebration in 1942, the need for a flag became apparent, but further work on it was suspended due to World War II.

In 1948, at the suggestion of the Woman’s Club, the quest for a new flag was renewed. The mayor appointed a commission to trace the background of the city seal and to make recommendations for a city flag. Representatives from the Common Council, the Daughters of the American Revolution, the White Plains Public Library and the Woman’s Club were selected for the task.

After much research and inspection of old town flags, the committee submitted a sketch of its recommendation for the flag to the Common Council. On Feb. 7, 1949, at the Common Council meeting, this flag was adopted as the official flag of the city of White Plains. During the meeting, the Woman’s Club asked for the privilege of purchasing and presenting this first flag to the city. Its offer was enthusiastically accepted.

Generous contributions from all sections and membership categories of the Club made it possible to purchase not only the new city flag, but also a new American flag to replace the badly worn one which had been hanging in City Hall.

The flags were presented at a grand ceremony, complete with a color guard from the city police and fire departments.

During the presentation ceremony, Ethel Kent, president of the Woman’s Club, said: “This flag represents the hopes and dreams of the people who came to this wilderness to escape tyranny. It represents the service of the Colonial troops, the slow but steady progress from a small village to a chartered city, with its many cultural and educational opportunities, the city we all love….May it always wave over a free people.”

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