Benny Benson, a 13-year-old from the small village of Chignik on the southern end of the Alaska Peninsula, designed the Alaskan state flag.
In early 1926, Territorial Governor George Parks decided that the territory was in dire need of a flag. On a trip to the nation’s capital, Parks noticed all of the states had individualized flags and since he wanted Alaska to be a state, he decided that a “state” flag would help the cause. On January 1927, the government body of Alaska created the contest rules and circulated these rules to Alaskan schools.
The contest deadline was March 1, 1927 and the winner was a seventh-grader named Benny Benson. Out of 142 entries, Benson’s design won the contest. Within two months, his design was unanimously agreed upon by the Alaskan legislature. He was rewarded with $1,000, a trip to Washington, D.C., an engraved watch and his name put down in the history books.
His design was quite simple. It consisted of eight stars sewn onto a blue background with the forget-me-not flower. In his explanation of the flag, Benson stated, “The blue field is for the Alaska sky. . . . The North Star is for the future of the state of Alaska, the most northerly in the Union. The dipper is for the Great Bear – symbolizing strenth [sic].”
The Benson-designed flag was flown for the first time on July 9, 1927. Alaska was granted statehood in 1959 and Benson’s flag turned into the Alaskan state flag.
Photos and information found online at the University of Alaska’s website.