New Suit for an Old Phoenix? The San Francisco Flag Reconsidered | Mechanics' Institute

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New Suit for an Old Phoenix? The San Francisco Flag Reconsidered
a conversation with historian John Lumea and designer Brian Stokle

This is event is produced in partnership with the San Francisco Department of Memory, producer of San Francisco History Days and the San Francisco Historical Society.

This event will be conducted via Zoom. Click here to register.

This program will be recorded for future viewing. 

By registering for and attending this program, you acknowledge that your name and image may be included in the recording.
If you have any questions please email Taryn Edwards,

Join us for a discussion of the lost design history of San Francisco's municipal flag followed by a look at a new design by Brian Stokle — a design that finds in the flag's original, mostly forgotten depiction of the phoenix an opportunity to create a new civic symbol for San Francisco that can do what all great city flags do: foster solidarity and esprit de corps in times of crisis and calm alike.

John Lumea is founder of The Emperor Norton Trust. As a writer and activist, John's interests have focused on issues in history, urban design, public space (including flags!), architectural preservation, culture and politics. His work has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, KQED, Mother Jones, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times and more. Read John’s article The Original San Francisco Flag Was Better and Cooler: Let’s Bring It Back! A detailed history of our city’s flag and why we should embrace its roots.

Brian Stokle is an urbanist, advocate and cartographer. A California native, Brian’s urban planning aspirations sparked while living in Paris, France. He earned a masters in Urban Planning at Columbia University and currently works as a planner at San Francisco Recreation and Parks. In his personal time, Brian has been working on a creating a better San Francisco flag for over 7 years. Through the years he has worked on multiple flag designs, culminating in the creation of the Fog & Gold Flag in October 2019. The flag now flies across the city's many neighborhoods. Many of his thoughts and analysis can be found on his blog:


Free to all.

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