Frederick County’s new flag reflects 275 years of history at ‘a crossroads’

Frederick County's new flag designed by Marc DeOcampo to celebrate 275 years (Courtesy Frederick County)
Pretty soon, Frederick County residents will be proudly hailing a new county flag. The occasion: the county’s 275th anniversary.

Marc DeOcampo, who happens to work for Frederick City, won the contest to design a new county flag. “It truly is an unexpected honor,” he told WTOP after learning his design was chosen.

The design is simple: the flag is divided into four different quadrangles, with alternating stripes between the large blocks of color.

“The colors are the colors in the Maryland flag: red, yellow, white and black” he said. DeOcampo creates “essentially a crossroads pattern”, and the crossroads theme was something specified in the contest rules.

DeOcampo said Frederick County is historically and geographically, a crossroads.

Historically, DeOcampo said the county was at the “epicenter” of the Civil War—the northern portion of the Mason-Dixon line runs along the border between Maryland and Pennsylvania and while it was a slave state, Maryland did not move to secede.

And geographically, DeOcampo said “Frederick County is at the heart and center of the state of Maryland” explaining that Route 355 runs North to South and the Old National Road (Route 40) runs from Baltimore to Western Maryland.

DeOcampo said he worked on the design with his son, Cameron, who also submitted a flag design of his own.

“He’s actually a big history buff,” said DeOcampo. “We debated about different designs and what they meant, and that’s how we got interested in it.”

The last time the county updated its flag was in 1976, part of the nation’s bi-centennial celebration. That design, by local artist James Pearl, showed Francis Scott Key pointing to an outline of the county with a background of red and white stripes. Key, the author of the lyrics to the U.S. National anthem, was born in Frederick and died in Baltimore.

Heidi Keeney, a county employee and the co-chair of the county’s 275th Anniversary Planning Committee said of the new flag design, “I’m excited to see it flying over our county facilities in the coming weeks.”

Keeney told WTOP that while the flag has been redesigned, the county’s distinctive seal, which is seen on county vehicles, letterhead and uniforms, will remain the same.

There was apparently some concern that the county seal was being replaced, but Keeney said the seal with its image of a farmer, a scythe in one hand, a sheaf of grain in the other and the Jug Bridge in the background, will not be altered.

DeOcampo said he’s excited about the prospect of seeing his flag design flying over county facilities, but added, “one of these days, there’ll probably be another competition I can imagine with the 300th anniversary of the county, and it will probably change again.”

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Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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