Last modified: 2013-07-06 by rick wyatt
Keywords: barstow | california | baseball | san bernardino county |
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image by Eugene Ipavec, 21 August 2008
Fascinating story about Barstow first city flag, shown below. First, an introduction to the city:
"The City of Barstow is located in the Inland Empire North region of San Bernardino County, midway between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Barstow is centrally located in the western Mojave at the entrance to the Mojave National Preserve and is home to the U.S. Army National Training Center at Ft. Irwin, Marine Corps Logistics Base, NASA's Goldstone Deep Space Network, Veterans Home of California, and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad's classification yard.
With Interstates 15 and 40, and highways 58 and 247 all converging in Barstow, the city is a major transportation corridor with more than 60 million people in 19 million vehicles traveling through Barstow each year. The city is home to an Amtrak depot at its Historic Harvey House. Catering to the tourists is Barstow Outlet and Tanger Outlet Center which together boasts more than 100 outlet stores. Barstow offers all the major conveniences of small town living with the resources of major metropolitan areas only a short drive away.
City limits encompass 40 square miles. It was founded in 1886 and incorporated as a city in 1947. It has population (as of 2007) of 24,600.
- from city's website
The story by (I couldn't locate the name of the author).
"Last year (2003) the Mojave River Valley Museum put on a flag display for the month of July. To prepare documentation for the display I did a lot of research on flags. Flags have different origins. Some were started because of revolutions. Others were started to define a country's values. Of all the flag origins I have read about I can only think of one that was started because of a baseball team: Barstow's first flag.
In 1958 the Brooklyn Dodgers moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles. The main reason the team relocated is that they weren't getting a new stadium in Brooklyn. The Dodgers played at the Coliseum until Dodgers Stadium was finished in 1962. At the beginning of the 1959 baseball season the Dodgers did something to make the team seem more like a local team. They flew city flags of Southern California cities over the Coliseum. One of the cities that was asked for a flag was Barstow. The city didn't have an official flag so city fathers shifted into high gear to get one. They started the process the Spring of 1959 with a Chamber of Commerce sponsored contest to find a slogan for the city. Randy Switzer won the contest with his entry Barstow--at the Intersection of Opportunity. The prize for the contest was a three day stay at the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas donated by the city's main radio station, KWTC.
Next was to design the flag. The project was turned over to the Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycee's). Paul Salopek, a young local artist, designed the flag. He chose two desert symbols a Joshua Tree and a horseshoe. In the City Council Resolution number 384 where they officially accepted the flag, the council stated that the two symbols were "appropriate symbols of a western desert town". Above the horseshoe was written Barstow and below, California. Through the horseshoe wound a gold banner with "Intersection of Opportunity" printed on it. The flag was officially presented to the City Council on June 15, 1959. Jaycee members, Margo Saenz and Andy Gluek, did the honors. The flag was then sent to manufacturers to make copies to be sold. It was not made clear if the flags were sold through the city or the Jaycees.
The journey of the flag did not stop there. The next step was to present the Dodgers with the flag. The city presented the flag to the team on August 30, 1959 which was "Barstow Day" at the Coliseum. The Jaycees announced the Barstow Day festivities and arranged for buses to take locals to the games. They sold seats on the buses as a package deal with a box lunch, cold drinks and tickets to the game. All proceeds went to the Jaycees. Some skeptics said that they "couldn't get 50 people to go to the game." In one week's time they had sold all 500 seats that the Coliseum had reserved for Barstow residents. The Jaycees also convinced the Coliseum to hold the section next to the Barstow section for people buying their tickets at the gate. In all it took seven buses plus a number of fans driving themselves to get everyone to the game.
The Barstow Day festivities started prior to the game against the Giants. Attending the ceremony from Barstow was Mayor George Oakes; Reverend John R. Simmons, president of the Jaycees; Miss Barstow 1959, Sandy Stayer; Barstow's own famous baseball player, Dusty Rhoads, who pitched the first no hitter in Cleveland Indian history; city councilman and future mayor Jim Gilliam; and famous pilot Chuck Yeager. Yeager was stationed at George Air Base in Victorville at the time and the plane he flew was known as The City of Barstow. Yeager was a fixture in town at the time speaking at a number of functions, riding in parades and flying over the 1958 grand opening ceremony of the I -15 freeway. The Dodgers that accepted the flag from the Barstow group included Dodgers greats, Gil Hodges and Don Drydale. Reverend Simmons made the Dodgers honorary Barstow Jaycees members with a plaque.
The first pitch of the game was thrown by Mayor Oakes. I think Oakes had a bit too much fun in his time as mayor. Besides throwing the first pitch he also received a unique honor. When Yeager's plane was officially christened The City of Barstow on Veteran's Day, 1958, Oakes got to be one of the first people to fly in it. Accordingly, George Oakes was the first Barstow Mayor to break the sound barrier. He wasn't our only supersonic mayor. Jim Giliam, who was a flyer in World War II and commercial pilot for a while, flew with Yeager at least once during the 1958 freeway opening. I don't know if he broke the sound barrier during his term as mayor in the mid sixties. The game itself was a very important one. The Giants were first in the division with the Dodgers 3 1/2 games back in third. The Dodgers won the game 7-6.
When Mayor Oakes gave the flag to the Dodgers he said, "I hope this flag will fly in the Coliseum when the Dodgers play this year in the World Series." Oakes got his wish the Dodgers went on to win the 1959 World Series against the White Sox."
- from: flickr.com/photos/35493028@N00/2330458977
Valentin Poposki, 12 July 2008
image located by Valentin Poposki, 25 May 2012
The image above is from a wall decoration at a city council meeting. Also found in the same room is this image of the flag, with just enough visible to see that the flag consists of the logo on the wall on a white field.