Sweet Home California

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Original flag design by William L. Todd (1911)

The precursor of the bear flag was first flown during the 1846 Bear Flag Revolt and was designed by the first cousin of Mary Todd Lincoln. The bear was modeled on the last wild Californian grizzly bear in captivity. The bear, named “Monarch”, was captured in 1889 by newspaper reporter Allen Kelley, at the behest of William Randolph Hearst. Monarch was subsequently moved to Woodwards Gardens in San Francisco, and then to the zoo at Golden Gate Park, where he lived until 1911. California Grizzlies became extinct in the wild sometime around the early 1900s, and so Monarch was truly the last of his kind.

The red star dates back to 1836 when Juan Alvarado and Isaac Graham led a revolution against Mexican rule. During this first revolt, rebels were able to capture Monterey and declared California “a free and sovereign state”. Although their rebellion failed to secure independence for California, their Lone Star Flag of California contained a single red star on a white background, and inspired the familiar red star.

Throughout the years, the flag of California has gone through many updates and in 1953, the state adopted its first flag brand standards guide to regulate the inconsistency throughout the state. In 2011, the flag was once again modernized to fix various problems with inconsistency and kerning. (source: Graphicology)

Parts Used: Chain, Reflector, Brake Bolts, Derailleur Cable End Caps, Rusted Chain

  • Date: July 12, 2014
  • Filed under: Culture