Tennessee's Flag History

The Tennessee State Flag was designed by a fellow named LeRoy Reeves of the Third Regiment, Tennessee Infantry. It was officially adopted by the Tennessee State Legislature on April 17, 1905.

The geometric design sybolizes the geographical and cultural heritage of the state of Tennessee while echoing the colors of the national flag of The United States of America. The color white symbolizes purity. The blue sybolizes the love that Tennesseans feel for their state and the red sybolizes, that in times of war and peace, Tennesseans are true-blooded Americans.

Mr. Reeves explained his design:

The three stars are of pure white, representing the three grand divisions of the state. They are bound together by the endless circle of the blue field, the symbol being three bound together in one - an indissoluble trinity. The large field is crimson. The final blue bar relieves the sameness of the crimson field and prevents the flag from showing too much crimson when hanging limp. The white edgings contrast more strongly the other colors

The "three grand divisions of the state". that Mr. Reeves refers to are the three sharply contrasting geographical divisions of the state of Tennessee.

East Tennessee is defined by the Great Smoky Mountains, the Cumberland Plateau and the narrow valleys and forested hills. Farming was restricted by this landscape and two of the states most industrialized cities are in East Tennessee; Chattanooga and Knoxville.

Middle Tennessee is known for its rolling landscape; bluegrass country. Defined by the circuitous path of the Tennessee River, Middle Tennessee is ideal for raising livestock and dairy farming and is known for its fine horses and mules.

West Tennessee is where most of the state's cotton is grown. Between the Tennessee and Mississippi Rivers, this is rich river-bottom land.

Link here to the Tennessee State Historical Society for facts, figures and history of Tennessee.