Two winners selected for new Rochester flag

Does this scream, “Rochester, Minn.,” to you? It’s the winner in the public voting to replace the city’s official flag.

Joe Uessem, of Germany, designed it. He’s never been to Rochester, he said in his design statement.

‘I, myself, am not from the city. My girlfriend though can’t stop talking about her old home. The misfortune that burnt down her family’s house and the possibility to start over again in Rochester are the most defining points of her life. The support that her family got from the good citizens of Rochester gave her strength to not lose hope.

Hope, Support, Love: this is what the City of Rochester stands for and what I want to show in my flag design. The design consists of three colors: The silver (white) lining separates the green ground (Which traditionally stands for hope.) and the blue sky (Blue stands for happiness and serenity.). The white goose does not only stand out on the darker background, it also flies towards freedom which the viewer expects out of the flag’s boundaries. Geese and Rochester have a special connection, and whenever I see a Canada goose, I think of the city. I am sure that many people feel the same way about
those beautiful animals.’

The winner in the judges’ category lives in Rochester, just not that Rochester. Matt Levar is from Rochester, NY.

His statement:

This is a modern adaption of Rochester’s current flag, with the overt visuals replaced with meaningful symbols of the city’s Past, Present, and Future. Here, a gold ring encompasses the city, symbolizing the community’s unity and values. Inside, three stars, one for the city’s founding (lower left), one for the great tornado and the medical community that came from it (lower right), and the highest one for the city’s future. The stars shine in a night sky over the city’s South Fork Zumbro and Bear Creek Rivers.

There have been two contest rounds so far in the effort to replace the current design, which is considered outdated.

Rochester mayor Ardell Brede displays the city flag in his office in 2017. Jerry Olson for MPR News | File.

Fifty-five flag designs were submitted.

The closest a Rochester resident got to winning the competition was third-place tie in the judges category by Donald Buske.

“Rochester is an internationally recognized city and it needs symbols that reflect its unique place in the world,” Lee Herold, of Herold Flags, said in a news release. “Drab and boring will not do. I would also say that almost all of the contest entries were well-designed and creative and would make excellent flags. It was difficult to choose the very best.”

It’s up to the Rochester City Council to select a winner.