Skip to main content

Wait ... Minneapolis and Rochester have flags? Yes, and some say they're ugly

  • Author:
  • Updated:

Red Lake County's label as America's least desirable place to live may have been officially retracted, but now more arbiters of ugliness have taken aim at Minnesota – and this time from the air.

A writer for the website Gizmodo looked at city flags across North America and came up with a selection of what may be the ugliest.

And they're looking at you, Minneapolis...

And you, too, Rochester...

Like many municipal flags, these two seem to spend more time in City Hall attics than fluttering from flagpoles.

Where did they come from? There are explanations.


The city's website reveals that in 1955 a flag committee unanimously adopted a design submitted by Louise Sundin, who was awarded a $250 U.S. savings bond as her prize.

The city council resolution making the flag official explains the four symbols on the blue pennant this way:

"...a building symbolizing education and the arts; a cogged wheel and square symbolizing labor and industry; a pilot wheel symbolizing our lakes and rivers and all activities identified with them; a microscope symbolizing research, skilled craftsmanship and progress – all of these symbols combined point out the beauty, harmony and brilliant future of our City."

Time for a flag makeover? Early this year there was such a push on Facebook, but the winds of change seemed to have died down – at least until Gizmodo's revival of the topic.


Med City's banner is a more recent arrival, having flown only since 1980.

A design by artist Laurie A. Muir was selected from among nearly 200 entries in a city-wide competition.

Muir explains on her website that she used the Mayo Clinic and Plummer Building to depict Rochester's skyline; featured letters in the font used by IBM to symbolize another major employer in the city; and included a representation of Silver Lake and the Canada geese who live on it year-round.

Even before Gizmodo weighed in on it, KTTC reported this summer on rumblings about a new flag for the city – noting that IBM no longer uses the font and Rochester's skyline has changed.

Mayor Ardell Brede told the station he missed an opportunity to change the flag when Rochester marked its 150th birthday but is eyeing the opening of a new Mayo Civic Center in 2017 as another chance.

This embed is invalid

Next Up


Newest 'Dirty Jobs' ep. has Mike Rowe scraping shmutz in MN

He'll scrape and clean a "special kind of shmutz" from the bottom of an escalator at a local hockey arena.

school, classroom

Here are the 77 nominees for the MN Teacher of the Year award

The nominees will be trimmed to a group of semifinalists and then a group of finalists.

crystal police department

2 women found dead in Crystal home, police investigating

Authorities investigating the incident as a murder-suicide.

Screen Shot 2022-01-27 at 9.15.45 PM

Buckeyes crash the glass, fend off Gophers

E.J. Liddell dominated in the paint to help No. 16 Ohio State.

nicolas blouin flickr fire hose

Fire departments decry drivers running over hoses, endangering crews

It happened in two separate Northland cities this week.

All Energy Solar - Bringing Panels to Roof

All Energy Solar reaches growth milestones with higher goals yet for 2022

Minnesota solar company continues to thrive through building a strong workforce

Royal Canadian Mounted Police maintoba crossing crop

Authorities ID family found frozen to death at MN-Canada border

They're still trying to unravel how they got there and who might have helped them.


Mayo Clinic specialist: 'The omicron surge is not over'

Experts expect a rapid decline over the next month followed a period of calm.

police lights

Charges: Man in stolen Jeep leads police on 110 mph chase

He crashed into a light post near the Capitol and then fled on foot, the complaint says.

kua dog go fund me

Puppy in back of stolen Audi found, reunited with owner

The 4 1/2-month-old bullmastiff had been missing more than a week.