Last modified: 2012-08-16 by rick wyatt
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image provided by city clerk, February 2005
The original artwork was done shortly after the City incorporated in 1887 (one year after its founding). The town originated on ranch land that had been bought and subdivided by William Monroe (hence the name Monrovia) and some
financial backers, who sold parcels for both residential and commercial use. Those were "boom" years in Southern California, with the new railroad passing through the southern portion of the new community, and land sales were brisk. To
stimulate sales, there was a lot of advertising in Eastern U.S. newspapers. The "city emblem" adopted at that time by the newly elected City Council consisted of mountains (which form the dramatic backdrop of the community) and
representations of a home, a church, a school and a business; an orchard (agriculture being the largest industry at the time) and, rather prominently, a lone palm tree. In those days (indeed, through the 1950s) palm trees were considered exotic and were good "sales points" for potential land buyers. That original design is still the official City Seal.
In the early 1990s, the City Council asked that the emblem be modified, simplified and modernized. Local graphic artists were invited to submit designs and to quote prices for their work. The Council turned down all the submissions "probably because of the cost" and invited the much-respected Art Institute in nearby Pasadena to offer their students a chance to design the new "logo" for no money, but for experience and credit.
The resulting logo was at least partially designed by a student although we have been unable to find a record of her name (it is remembered that it was a young woman). I say partially, because the city's management team apparently became very involved in the design after the initial work had been done, asking for many changes. The final work was done, to my understanding, by engineers working on computers in the City's Public Works Department, under the direction of the management committee.
The new logo is very simple. It features the mountains and a tree branch. The mountains, of course, are the community's greatest identifying feature. Why the tree branch? We don't know. (In defense of those involved with the project at the time, the City was undergoing severe financial difficulties at the time and was "between" Public Information Officers, the position that would normally handle a task of this type.)
The new design was ultimately approved by the City Council, but only informally. There was no official action taken. It was basically a decision of the City Manager and his management team.
The design is used in a variety of ways, in a variety of shapes and in a variety of colors. It constitutes the City Flag, is featured on City letterhead, appears on City brochures, on City vehicles, etc. Each department in the City has altered it slightly to suit its own needs. It is featured prominently on the front of our City Hall and is the focal point in the City Council Chambers, rising behind the seated Council as they conduct their business.
Dick Singer, Public Information Officer, 28 February 2005