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Ask LAist: Our State Flag

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Ask LAist is our occasional feature in which we answer the perplexing questions of our dear readers. Need help figuring out something about the city...or life in general? Ask us.

LAist isn't just here to tell you where the best egg cream in city is, or when Boogie Knights will be playing the Lava Lounge again. No, we are here for much, much more. And a big part of that is your, and our own, edification.

In our very first "Ask LAist" feature, we'll clue you (and ourselves) in on some facts about our own State Flag, courtesy of reader...let's call him *Bob. He writes:

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Maybe you can help me: I'm trying to track down a poster or framed print of the California state flag for my roommates as a Christmas gift. Any ideas where one of those can be found in L.A.?

I very much enjoy LAist and have learned much about SoCal since moving here in July.

All best,

*(We changed his name just in case the roommates read LAist. We don't ever want to spoil anyone's Christmas surprise)

Well Bob, let's look at our ensign first, and learn a little bit about it.

The historic Bear Flag was first raised at Sonoma on June 14, 1846, by a group of American settlers who were revolting against Mexican rule. The flag was designed by William Todd on a piece of new unbleached cotton. The star imitated the lone star of Texas. The grizzly bear represented the many bears seen in the state (wow, how's that for symbolism?). The word, "California Republic" was placed beneath the star and bear. It was adopted by the 1911 State Legislature as the State Flag. [Source: California Blue Book - do you think they have a blog? That paragraph really needs to be pepped up]

Now, checking Wikipedia lends a whole host of new information about the flag and it's rich history. (Come ON California Blue Book. Use those weblinks.) And still more digging gives us this gem about the banner. Sadly, the original flag (which was made partly of a petticoat, linseed oil, and brick dust!) was destroyed in the San Francisco Earthquake and subsequent Fire of 1906.

Now, to help Bob out, we did a little additional Googling of our own, and found a few (really nice) framed California flag prints for sale.

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This one from someone over at CafePress. ($39.99)

From (IN OHIO! Jenkies.) ($69.00)

Or from (In Pennsylvania!? What gives?) (various prices for unframed flags)

Now, your best bet is to either pick one up at a local Army/Navy Surplus store (there's a great one north on Van Nuys Blvd. in Van Nuys, near the courthouse), or visit AAA Flag and Banner. One of the nation's biggest flag companies, headquartered right here in good old Los Angeles, they have a ton of local shops, and they sell California flags like hotcakes. It'll only run you a couple of bucks at either place. Then take it to one of the billion framing places in Los Angeles (there are quite a few nice ones on Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks/Studio City on your drive back from Van Nuys). Have them slap a frame on it, and voila! Merry Christmas.