Event company

Family owned for over 100 years: WGN Flag Company has decorated Chicago’s proudest moments

CHICAGO – There is another WGN? Yes, the WGN Flag and Decorating Company has been a part of Chicago history for over 100 years.

Launched in 1916 by William George Newbould (WGN), they have been a household name in Chicago and the flag and banner industry. With this reputation, they have participated in virtually every major event in the city’s history.

You see their work all over town, but you might not even know it. For a century, they have decorated memorable events such as V-Day, the arrival of Queen Elizabeth and visits from presidents and dignitaries from around the world. They have also competed in almost every athletic championship in Chicago.

“Our work covers just about every civic building in Chicago that flies a flag,” Gus Porter said.

Porter is the vice chairman and chief executive officer and great-great-great-grandson of Newbould.

Not only is there a work scene all over Chicago with police, fire and park district flags, but you’ll also see WGN’s work in many movies and TV shows all over the world.

From blockbusters like Dark Knight and Backdraft to TV shows like Chicago Fire, Chicago Med, and Chicago PD, you’ve probably seen their work without even realizing it.

“I was the most boring person watching ‘Dark Knight,'” Porter said. “I wasn’t as interested in the movie as I was in seeing our flags and pointing at them.”

Flag of Gotham City in Dark Knight

Perhaps their greatest honor is making the flag for the city of Chicago. It is completely handmade in the South Chicago store.

“Some of these historical flags, we try to sew them in a more original way, with a single needle instead of a double needle, just to make them look even more authentic,” Porter said. “Everything has to be historically accurate. … There is no other flag that I would need to see fully sewn than the flag of Chicago. I could do the prints and make them cheaper, but they don’t look as good or have a close quality. To have that pride that you put into something, you’re not going to have that same pride in something when the machine is doing all the work. When you have the love and care that goes into it, every thread, every boot, it means something.

Make Chicago Bulls World Champion Banner

To find your own flag and learn more about WGN Flag Company, click here.

For more fun on the Chicago scene, follow @tomwgnchicago on Instagram.