CHICAGO — There’s another WGN? Yes, the W.G.N. Flag and Decorating Company has been part of Chicago’s history for over 100 years.
Started in 1916 by William George Newbould (W.G.N.), they have been a prominent name in Chicago and in the flag and banner industry. With that reputation, they’ve been part of virtually every major event in the city’s history.
You see their work all over the city, but might not even know it. For the past century, they’ve been decorating for momentous events such as V-Day, Queen Elizabeth’s arrival, and visits from presidents and dignitaries from around the world. They have also been involved in almost all of Chicago’s sports championships.
“Our work is on just about every municipal building in Chicago flying a flag,” said Gus Porter.
Porter is the Vice President and CEO and the great-great-great-grandson of Newbould.
Not only is there work scene all over Chicago with police, fire, and park district flags, but you’ll also see the handiwork of W.G.N. in many movies and television shows all over the world.
From blockbusters like Dark Knight and Backdraft to television shows like Chicago Fire, Chicago Med, and Chicago PD, you’ve likely seen their work and didn’t even realize it.
“I was the most annoying person to watch ‘Dark Knight,'” Porter said. “I wasn’t interested in the movie as much as I was interested in seeing our flags and pointing them out.”
Perhaps their biggest honor is making Chicago’s city flag. It is completely handmade right in the South Chicago store.
“Some of these historical flags, we try to sew them more original, with a single needle instead of a double needle, just to make them that much more authentic,” Porter said. “Everything needs to be historically accurate. … There is no other flag that I would need to see fully sewn than the Chicago flag. I could do the printed ones and do them cheaper, but they don’t look as nice or have near amount of quality. To have that pride that you put into something, you’re not going to have the same pride in something when the machine does all the work. When you got the love and care that goes into it, every single thread, every single start, that means something.”
To find your own flag and to learn more about W.G.N. Flag Company, click here.
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