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Commercial Club celebrates new city flag alongside the old one

When Springfield City Council voted to adopt a new city flag earlier this year, it didn’t happen without controversy. Now north Springfield’s Commercial Club is celebrating the new flag — along with the old one.

In front of the historic Commercial Club building in the heart of north Springfield, a crowd of two dozen noshed on strawberry skewers and sipped fancy beverages from clinking glasses.

They were there to celebrate Springfield city flags — both the official Compass Crown flag adopted early this year, and the historic city flag designed by high school students in 1938.

Mary Collette is a Commercial Club member and longtime C-Street businessperson. She said, “In the 30s, Paul Harris, who was Mr. Commercial Street, was very involved in everything Commercial Street, it was his idea for Springfield to have a flag because we didn’t originally have one.”

Collette and C-Street supporters looked on as Springfield Zone 1 Councilwoman Monica Horton read an official proclamation by Springfield Mayor Ken McClure. Joined by Zone 3 Councilman Mike Schilling, Horton lowered the U.S. flag and raised the blue-and-white Compass Crown flag in its place. Both the new city flag and the old one now fly over C-Street. Commercial Club also wants to add new flagpoles near the Jefferson Avenue Footbridge to accommodate the U.S. flag, Collette told KSMU the day after the ceremony.

They also unveiled new signage in front of the century-old Commercial Club headquarters. The sign explains historic connections between Commercial Street and the 1938 flag. Collette explained that a Commercial Street booster literally made that flag, 84 years ago.

“Designs were combined to create the flag that we, the original flag, which was stitched by the secretary of Commercial Club at that time, making her the Betsy Ross of Springfield,” Collette said.

The signage was designed by Imaginational, a company based on the 400 block of the historic C-Street area.

Gregory Holman is a KSMU reporter and editor focusing on public affairs and investigations.