BOSTON – Today, State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D- Pittsfield) and State Representative Stephen Kulik (D- Worthington) presented the new, official Plainfield town flag to the Superintendent of the Bureau of the State House, Tammy Kraus at a ceremony in the Great Hall of Flags in the Massachusetts State House.
Once properly cataloged by the Bureau, Plainfield’s flag will be added to the impressive array of municipal flags in the Great Hall of Flags to be admired by all State House visitors.
The Great Hall of Flags serves as the largest function room in the Massachusetts State House. Two decades ago the Bureau began collecting flags from the 351 Commonwealth communities to display them throughout the Great Hall, thereby improving the acoustics of the room. Officials are seeking to complete the collection this year, in time for the 20th anniversary of the program.
Since 2009 Downing and Kulik have periodically written to Boards of Selectmen in the communities not currently represented in the Great Hall, inviting them to submit a flag. Prior to today Downing has proudly sponsored flag presentation ceremonies for Egremont, Monterey, Mount Washington, New Marlborough, Otis, Pittsfield, Stockbridge, Tyringham and Worthington.
The adoption of Plainfield’s new flag was driven by the late Jim Pilgrim. In February 2011 he learned Downing was sponsoring a flag design contest with the City of Pittsfield and contacted the Senator to inquire whether Plainfield had a flag. Upon learning his community was not represented in the Great Hall Mr. Pilgrim requested that the Select Board hold a contest to design a town flag.
Following his request, the Select Board announced a flag design contest, during which several designs were submitted by Plainfield residents. After much deliberation a winning design submitted by Alfred (Jim) Feeley was chosen by the Select Board. The colors and patterns used by Mr. Feeley in his flag design represent Plainfield's beautiful landscape and history in agriculture:
Background of green hills: symbolize that Plainfield is one of the "hilltowns" of western Massachusetts;
Blue wavy lines: symbolic of Plainfield’s many rivers and streams;
Blue sky with wavy white lines: symbolic of Plainfield’s open rural skies;
Ring of grain: symbolize Plainfield’s agricultural zoning and open fields for produce; and
Rooster: An exact copy of the original weathervane on top of the original town hall, also symbolic of the "Right to Farm".
Paula King, Plainfield’s Administrative Secretary notes that a wooden cut-out of this rooster is currently on display by the Plainfield Historical Society at the Shaw-Hudson House.
There are ten remaining towns in Downing’s Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin & Hampden district without a flag in the Great Hall: Alford, Hawley, Middlefield, New Ashford, Savoy, Westhampton, West Stockbridge, Williamsburg, Williamstown and Windsor. Additionally, Kulik’s 1st Franklin district is missing flags from Montague and Whately. In total, there are 25 missing town flags from communities statewide that if presented, would complete the Great Hall’s collection.
Downing and Kulik are together renewing their call to these twelve communities to submit a flag to State House officials.
Susan Greendyke Lachevre, Art Collections Manager for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Art Commission advises that flags prepared for display in the Great Hall should meet the following specifications:
Flags should measure 4 x 6’ and have a 3” pole sleeve (not grommets) at the hoist end of the flag for threading onto a 1” diameter pole;
Nylon or cotton muslin flags are preferred, although flags may be constructed of any strong material, either single or double faced;
Flags may be handmade or commercially produced, and printed or decorated in any stable, permanent fashion;
Images may be one-sided, but two-sided decoration is encouraged; and
Fringe is optional.
Residents or officials seeking information on creating a flag are encouraged to contact Downing’s or Kulik’s State House office.