It took Wyoming nearly 30 years after becoming a state until it adopted a state flag. Thanks to Verna Keays from Buffalo winning a contest, we now have the colors we do. Now at the Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum, one of the original flags hangs with pride.

According to Wyoming State Museum, in 1916, the Daughters of the American Revolution held a contest to make the flag for Wyoming. Verna Keays had just returned to Buffalo after graduating from the Art Institute of Chicago. She submitted her entry and won a $20 prize, and her design became the official state flag on January 1st, 1917.

At the Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum, they have one of the original 6 flags purchased by Wyoming on display. It is over 100 years old and has gone through a lot or restorations to maintain it's original glory. It should look familiar, but there are a few subtle differences. The border is full of yellow fringes. Yet the biggest change from today's flag is the bison faces the other direction.

Verna Keays described what each of the colors and symbols represented. This is from her original submission to the Daughters of The American Revolution published by the Wyoming State Museum:

Seal of Wyoming – The heart of the flag, the brand on the bison.
American Bison – The monarch of the plains of Wyoming (Incorrectly called buffalo).
Red – The red man (Indian) and blood of pioneers who reclaimed the country.
White – Freedom of plains and purity for all.
Blue – The blue of our sky and mountains color symbolic of fidelity and justice.
Colors – Those of our national flag.

Verna Keays married Arthur Keyes on June 1, 1921. She lived in Casper with her husband. She passed away in 1982. Her grave is in Buffalo at Willow Grove Cemetery.

Jim Gatchell Memorial Musum in Buffalo, WY


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